Hazel Smith; Won Pulitzer

<i> Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Hazel Brannon Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor who was known for her strong stand against racism during Mississippi’s turbulent civil rights era, has died. She was 80.

Mrs. Smith, who in 1964 became the first woman to receive the Pulitzer for editorial writing, died Saturday.

Her 42-year career as editor and publisher of the Lexington (Miss.) Advertiser was chronicled in the ABC television movie “A Passion for Justice: The Life Story of Hazel Brannon Smith” on April 17.

Actress Jane Seymour portrayed Smith, who was one of the few white Southern editors to speak out against white extremists during the 1950s and ‘60s.


Mrs. Smith’s newspaper became the target of an economic boycott, and the segregationist White Citizens Council launched an opposition paper. The boycott lasted 10 years and drained Mrs. Smith financially. Nevertheless, she continued to speak out against racism and bigotry.