Former MS Gov. William Winter, known for education reform, dies at 97

Former Mississippi Governor William Winter, a crusader for public education and racial harmony, has died. He was 97. 

Winter died Friday night at home in Jackson. 

Winter served as governor from 1980 to 1984, and in 1982 ushered the passage of the Education Reform Act, the state’s first comprehensive education overhaul.

The legislation was widely seen as ahead of its time and as one of the most progressive and comprehensive pieces of education legislation that had been passed in the

country at the time.

After serving a remarkable 75 years in public office, Winter kept busy. 

He continued to fight for inclusion in the state and was instrumental in securing funding and support for the Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights museums. The museums opened to the public in 2017. 

Winter was also an early and longtime advocate of changing the state flag to remove its controversial Confederate emblem.  

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