Remembering William Winter



MCJ founder Martha Bergmark and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Fred Banks present Gov. Winter with the 2012 Champion of Justice award.

The Mississippi Center for Justice mourns the loss of Governor William Winter. With Governor Winter’s passing, Mississippi has lost a true champion of justice. Governor Winter was the rare politician who commanded the respect of leaders of both parties. He always put the interests of Mississippians above his personal political aspirations. Bringing the legislature back to Jackson to vote on the Education Reform Act in December of 1982 was an act of incredible political courage, but Governor Winter persevered because he knew how crucial the improvement of Mississippi’s education system was to the future of our state.


After leaving the Governor’s Mansion, he continued to impact Mississippi and the United States by fighting for racial reconciliation and recognizing the importance of equity for all. We are so pleased that Governor Winter lived to see the Mississippi legislature retire the Mississippi state flag in June of this year; he worked tirelessly to make white Mississippians understand the hurtful reactions the Confederate battle emblem induced in African Americans. In addition to being a remarkable role model who accomplished much in his 70-plus years of public service, Governor Winter was a kind, gracious, and approachable man with a wonderful sense of humor. He was a man of great integrity and a true statesman for every Mississippian. His legacy will endure through the many institutions he supported, including the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, the two Mississippi Museums, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Center for Justice.


He will be missed, but the effects of his leadership and his life are everlasting.