Hazel Brannon Smith: The Female Crusading Scalawag

Hazel Brannon Smith: The Female Crusading Scalawag 1080 The Journal of American History March 2018 who study the South r’ealignment that mod s - Citizens’ Council, the National Association for eration emerged from political necessity. the Advancement of Colored People, and the Supreme Court all at once. Katherine Rye Jewell Smith continued to maintain that black Fitchburg State University children were unfit for white schools, but she Fitchburg, Massachusetts increasingly abhorred the tactics of the segr - e doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax536 gationists. She denounced those who used vio - lence and intimidation in attempts to enforce conformity. She always cherished freedom of Hazel Brannon Smith:  The Female Crusading speech and a free press, and she realized that Scalawag. By Jeffery B. Howell. ( Jackson: Un - i Mississippi’s segregationist leaders were endan - versity Press of Mississippi, 2017. viii, 245 pp. gering those ideals. $35.00.) On Halloween night in 1960, a cross was burned on Smith’s lawn. Segregationists then Jeffery B. Howell has written a thoughtf-ul bi led a boycott of Smith’s newspapers, which - ex ography of Hazel Brannon Smith, who p - ub lished two Mississippi newspapers and won a acted a heavy financial toll. Perhaps the blow that hurt the most was when Smith hosted a Pulitzer Prize in 1964. In the decade before dinner party and nobody came—a testament Smith received that award, she underwent a to the ostracism faced by white people in M - is stunning transformation: from staunch s - egre sissippi who dared to question white supr - em gationist to ally of the civil rights movement. In studying Smith’s life, Howell writes, “wacy e . By 1962, she had reached the point of see how massive resistance worked on a mi - no return. She wrote that Jim Crow must go crolevel” (p. 7). Howell shows how the White Citizens’ Council—and white citizens in gen - and eventually befriended Medgar Evers. In 1964 Smith championed the Civil Rights Act, eral—targeted and punished Smith. Howell’s and the following year, African Americans in book also illuminates a phenomenon -per haps more interesting: how racial awakenings Holmes County honored her with a celebra - tion. worked on a personal level. Howell has made a significant contribu - For many years, Smith defended Jim tion in bringing to light Smith’s life story. As Crow. She finally began to change because Howell traces Smith’s remarkable career -, how she was appalled by the vicious tactics of M - is sissippi’s white leaders, but not because she ever, the book sometimes reads like a string of quotations from Smith’s editorials. Much of doubted the wisdom of segregation. Smith the material comes from her own published turned against her fellow segregationists rath - er than against the system of segregation. writings. A wider variety of sources could have enriched this work. In the end, this is a com - That seemingly subtle change started a larger pelling biography of a woman too often for - transformation,which forms the heart of - How ell’s book. As Smith questioned white supr - em gotten. acists, she attracted their wrath. Jason Sokol When the Supreme Court handed down its University of New Hampshire Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, Durham, New Hampshire Smith responded with rage. She blamed “ - out doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax537 side agitators” for the ruling and argued that segregation was “in the best interest of both races” (p. 76). Later that year, Smith criti - White Sand, Black Beach: Civil Rights, Public cized the Holmes County sheriff for shooting Space, and Miami’s Virginia Key. By Gregory a black man in the back, as the man was at - W. Bush. (Gainesville: University Press of tempting to run away. Whites in Mississippi Florida, 2016. xiv, 336 pp. $29.95.) treated such criticism as betrayal. They tried to intimidate and silence Smith, but she r - eIn White Sand, Black Beach Gregory W. Bush mained undeterred. By 1955, she opposed the uses a seemingly out-of-the-way place t -o re Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/104/4/1080/4932714 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of American History Oxford University Press

Hazel Brannon Smith: The Female Crusading Scalawag

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Abstract

1080 The Journal of American History March 2018 who study the South r’ealignment that mod s - Citizens’ Council, the National Association for eration emerged from political necessity. the Advancement of Colored People, and the Supreme Court all at once. Katherine Rye Jewell Smith continued to maintain that black Fitchburg State University children were unfit for white schools, but she Fitchburg, Massachusetts increasingly abhorred the tactics of the segr - e doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax536 gationists. She denounced those who used vio - lence and intimidation in attempts to enforce conformity. She always cherished freedom of Hazel Brannon Smith:  The Female Crusading speech and a free press, and she realized that Scalawag. By Jeffery B. Howell. ( Jackson: Un - i Mississippi’s segregationist leaders were endan - versity Press of Mississippi, 2017. viii, 245 pp. gering those ideals. $35.00.) On Halloween night in 1960, a cross was burned on Smith’s lawn. Segregationists then Jeffery B. Howell has written a thoughtf-ul bi led a boycott of Smith’s newspapers, which - ex ography of Hazel Brannon Smith, who p - ub lished two Mississippi newspapers and won a acted a heavy financial toll. Perhaps the blow that hurt the most was when Smith hosted a Pulitzer Prize in 1964. In the decade before dinner party and nobody came—a testament Smith received that award, she underwent a to the ostracism faced by white people in M - is stunning transformation: from staunch s - egre sissippi who dared to question white supr - em gationist to ally of the civil rights movement. In studying Smith’s life, Howell writes, “wacy e . By 1962, she had reached the point of see how massive resistance worked on a mi - no return. She wrote that Jim Crow must go crolevel” (p. 7). Howell shows how the White Citizens’ Council—and white citizens in gen - and eventually befriended Medgar Evers. In 1964 Smith championed the Civil Rights Act, eral—targeted and punished Smith. Howell’s and the following year, African Americans in book also illuminates a phenomenon -per haps more interesting: how racial awakenings Holmes County honored her with a celebra - tion. worked on a personal level. Howell has made a significant contribu - For many years, Smith defended Jim tion in bringing to light Smith’s life story. As Crow. She finally began to change because Howell traces Smith’s remarkable career -, how she was appalled by the vicious tactics of M - is sissippi’s white leaders, but not because she ever, the book sometimes reads like a string of quotations from Smith’s editorials. Much of doubted the wisdom of segregation. Smith the material comes from her own published turned against her fellow segregationists rath - er than against the system of segregation. writings. A wider variety of sources could have enriched this work. In the end, this is a com - That seemingly subtle change started a larger pelling biography of a woman too often for - transformation,which forms the heart of - How ell’s book. As Smith questioned white supr - em gotten. acists, she attracted their wrath. Jason Sokol When the Supreme Court handed down its University of New Hampshire Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, Durham, New Hampshire Smith responded with rage. She blamed “ - out doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax537 side agitators” for the ruling and argued that segregation was “in the best interest of both races” (p. 76). Later that year, Smith criti - White Sand, Black Beach: Civil Rights, Public cized the Holmes County sheriff for shooting Space, and Miami’s Virginia Key. By Gregory a black man in the back, as the man was at - W. Bush. (Gainesville: University Press of tempting to run away. Whites in Mississippi Florida, 2016. xiv, 336 pp. $29.95.) treated such criticism as betrayal. They tried to intimidate and silence Smith, but she r - eIn White Sand, Black Beach Gregory W. Bush mained undeterred. By 1955, she opposed the uses a seemingly out-of-the-way place t -o re Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/104/4/1080/4932714 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018

Journal

The Journal of American HistoryOxford University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2018

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