Meet Barry Saunders
WHAT READERS SAY
"You suck!" -too many readers to name
"I wouldn't know Barry Saunders if I tripped over him. But these columns are fantastically good, equal to the best I've ever read for relevance, for bite, for class and style." -Ben Bradlee, Washington Post
"I can see from your picture in the newspaper where a sense of humor would come in handy. You look like a reject from an Orville Redenbacher Popcorn commercial." -Wendell Flowers, former death row inmate and poison pen pal
Barry Saunders has been a journalist for more than 50 years – if you count from the time when he was five-years-old and started selling day-old copies of the Richmond County Daily Journal he’d found to Mr. Lee, his neighbor in Rockingham.
“I was too young to read them and know that they were old,” Saunders said in an exclusive interview with himself recently. “It didn’t occur to me that Mr. Lee could read them and knew that they were yesterday’s paper. Maybe he just wanted to give me a nickel.”
If you don’t count that inauspicious and borderline fraudulent beginning, he has been a journalist for 38 years, starting with his first job with the Atlanta Constitution newspaper as a copyboy and obituary writer.
He has also worked for the Richmond County Daily Journal in Rockingham, The Robeson Record in Lumberton, N.C., The Post-Tribune in Gary, Ind. and the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. He published his own newspaper, the Richmond County North Star, in Rockingham, for three years.
Saunders is never shy about telling all who’ll listen – and many who won’t – that he is an award-winning journalist.
What he is less apt to say, though, is that the award he won was Mrs. Robinson’s 6th grade spelling bee at Leak Street School – or that the reason he won is because all of the smart kids had gone on a field trip that day to Gaddy’s Geese Farm up near Ellerbe.
Unlike many journalists, Saunders has worked at a wide variety of jobs, including as a cab driver for Dewey “Boss Hogg” Edens’ Taxicab Co., digging ditches, stuffing stockings into plastic eggs for Sandhurst Hosiery Mill and mopping floors on Ervin Morman’s overnight cleaning crew at K-Mart in Aberdeen, N.C. while publishing the Richmond County North Star.
Barry is the author of two widely praised – primarily by him – books of his columns, “Do Unto Others – And Then Run” and “And the Horse You Rode In On, Saunders.”
He is a graduate of Richmond Senior High School in Rockingham, and attended St. Augustine’s University nee College in Raleigh, Ferrum Junior College in Ferrum, Va. and Morris College in Sumter, S.C., before finishing his schooling at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Why so many?
“Every time I got cut from the school’s basketball team, I transferred to another school.”
By the time he got to Morehouse, he said, he knew the NBA would have to get along without him.