It is good month to honor a host of atheist/humanists with ties to Pittsburgh.
George Seldes (1890-1995), born on Nov. 16 in NJ, became a cub reporter for the Pittsburgh Leader in 1909, earning $3.50 a week. He became night editor of the Pittsburgh Post five years later and was hired by United Press to report in London in 1916. Seldes was the first to report the link between cancer and cigarette smoking. He wrote 21 books, including You Can’t Print That! (1929), Can These Things Be! (1931), The Vatican: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (1934), Lord of the Press (1938), The Catholic Crisis (examining church ties to fascism, 1940) and Witch Hunt (1940), about red-baiting. Until his death at 104 in 1995, he was the oldest member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The 1996 documentary film “Tell the Truth and Run” featured interviews with Seldes and was nominated for an Academy Award.
Chambers Roberts (1910-2005), born in Pittsburgh on Nov. 18, was the chief diplomatic correspondent of the Washington Post from 1953-1971, where he wrote several influential articles about the Pentagon Papers, detailing deceptions during the Vietnam War. As a result, Roberts was named as a defendant in the case that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court for publishing the documents. In Aug 2004, he wrote “I do want to add a final word about the hereafter. I do not believe in it. I think that the religions which promise various after-life scenarios basically invented them to meet the longing for an answer to life’s mysteries.”
Thanks to ffrf.org for details about these Pittsburgh notables.