William Winter was a prominent politician in Mississippi for several years. Eventually, he held the state's highest elected office. An attempt by Winter at federal politics would be unsuccessful.

Earlier in his political career, Winter ran on a platform that included support for segregation. He downplayed racial matters as 'old emotional' issues. But his views would shift as his career went on.

Winter died in Jackson, Mississippi

William Winter died on December 18, 2020, according to Dick Molpus. A former Mississippi secretary of state, Molpus was acting as a spokesperson for Winter's family.

Per MSN, no cause of death was announced.

Winter is best-remembered as governor of Mississippi. A position he was elected to in 1979. Arguably his most notable feat as governor was the 1982 Education Reform Act. The act was aimed at drastically overhauling the state's public education system, including creating more equal opportunities for African-American students.

Later in his life, Winter vocally advocated removing the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag. Something that was eventually accomplished shortly before his death. But his policies hadn't always been geared in that direction.

As noted by CNN, Winter had been opposed to white supremacy groups such as the KKK. However, he promoted keeping racial segregation in place during his early time in politics, including his first gubernatorial run in 1967.

That year, Winter lost in the Democratic primary to U.S. Representative John Bell Williams. Williams, who won the general election in a landslide, had been a hardcore segregationist. He ran again in 1975. This time, Winter lost the primary to former State Senator Cliff Finch. Finch would win the general election on a campaign that appealed to African-American voters.

Winter's 1979 gubernatorial campaign would prove to be more successful than his previous ones. He did not run for re-election in 1983. Instead, he ran for the U.S. Senate. Winter would lose to Republican incumbent Thad Cochran. Attorney General William Allain, a Democrat, was elected to succeed Winter as governor.

He was also lieutenant governor

After graduating from the University of Mississippi, Winter joined the U.S. Army. He would serve in World War II and the Korean War, eventually retiring as a major. Winter also graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law. While there, he was editor of the Mississippi Law Journal.

Winter was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives three times. He would be appointed as the state's tax collector. From 1964 to 1968, he was treasurer of Mississippi. And from 1972 to 1976, he was lieutenant governor, and the second-highest elected office in the state.