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Miller, Julian Sidney

by Michael Wesley Hickman, 1991

27 Nov. 1886–28 July 1946

Julian Sidney Miller, newspaper editor, was born in the New Hope Church community of Fairfield County, S.C., the son of the Reverend Robert Grier Miller, D.D., and his wife, Roberta Emmons. His father was one of the most prominent ministers in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian church. While Julian was still a small child, his family moved to the Sardis Church community, near Charlotte in Mecklenburg County, where his father served as pastor of the Sardis Church for nearly forty years. From 1902 to 1903 he attended The University of North Carolina, then transferred to Erskine College in Due West, S.C., from which he was graduated in the class of 1906.

Soon afterwards Miller traveled to Butler, Pa., where he found employment on the local newspaper. After a short time, however, he returned to Charlotte and in late 1906 joined the staff of the Charlotte Observer. He worked for the Observer until 1915, when he was appointed editor of the Charlotte News. Meanwhile, on 13 Jan. 1913, Miller had married Fannie Belle Faulkner of the Sardis Church community. They became the parents of three sons (one of whom was killed in World War II) and two daughters.

In 1931 Miller stepped down as city editor and editor of the Charlotte News to become the director of public relations for federal relief in North Carolina during the administration of Governor O. Max Gardner. He served briefly before his appointment in 1933 as associate editor of the Charlotte Observer. In 1935, on the death of Colonel Wade H. Harris, Miller was named to succeed him as editor. He served in this capacity until his own death.

Over time Miller became widely recognized for his contributions as editor, editorialist, and public servant. In 1930 he was awarded a doctor of laws degree by Erskine College as one of its most distinguished alumni. As his prominence grew, so did the importance of his editorials. A number of them—republished in other papers and as pamphlets and articles—wielded much influence. For example, he warned of the impending global crisis of World War II when many still believed it was a "phony war"; he urgently appealed for the increased support of orphanages; he called for continued support of the New Deal; and he especially wrote in favor of improving and expanding public education. A Democrat, Miller was chairman of the Governor's Commission on Education in 1938–39, served many terms on his local county board of education, and was appointed to the State Board of Education in 1943.

Among his other accomplishments, Miller was elected vice-president (1939) and president (1944–45) of the North Carolina Press Association; served as president of the Charlotte Community Chest (1938–40) and of the North Carolina Conference of Social Service; and was a member of the promotion committee of the Southern Conference on Human Relations in Industry, a trustee of Erskine College, and an honorary member of the Omicron Delta Kappa chapter at Davidson College. A powerful public speaker, he used this ability particularly in campaigning for any movements promoting the advancement of the educational system of North Carolina. For the last two years of his life, Miller was less active due to poor health caused by a heart condition. He died of a heart attack in Lumberton while returning to Charlotte from a vacation with his family.

References:

Charlotte Observer, 29 July 1946.

Jack Claiborne, The Charlotte Observer (1986).

Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina, 1795–1924 (1924).

Greensboro Daily News, 30 July 1946.

Julian Sidney Miller, "Bleeding to Death" (reprint of an editorial in the Charlotte Observer [n.d.], in the North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), and "The South Is Still Solid," Review of Reviews (1936).

The Uplift, 3 Aug. 1946.

Who Was Who in America, vol. 2 (1950).

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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