The Press: The Last Word

One way to be unpopular in Holmes County, Miss. is to criticize the sheriff for mistreating a Negro. When good-looking, dark-haired Mrs. Hazel Brannon Smith, 41, tried this in the two weeklies she owns and edits, she found herself on the losing end of a libel suit filed by the sheriff. But last week, thanks to a Mississippi Supreme Court decision, Editor Smith's courageous editorial voice had the last—and winning—word.

It was a voice that, in front-page editorials or in her weekly column, "Through Hazel Eyes," had long sounded like the county's conscience. Just out of the University of Alabama, Hazel Brannon...

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