W. Arthur Winstead

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William Arthur Winstead
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1965
Preceded by John Bell Williams
Succeeded by Prentiss Walker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1963
Preceded by Ross Collins
Succeeded by William M. Colmer
Personal details
Born (1904-01-06)January 6, 1904
Philadelphia, Mississippi, USA
Died March 14, 1995(1995-03-14) (aged 91)
Philadelphia, Mississippi
Resting place Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Philadelphia, Mississippi
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Clark Memorial College

University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa
University of Southern Mississippi

Occupation Farmer, educator
Automobile dealer

William Arthur Winstead (January 6, 1904 – March 14, 1995) was a farmer and politician, elected as U.S. Representative from Mississippi's 4th congressional district, serving from 1943 to 1965. He surprisingly lost the 1964 election by a substantial margin, when his Republican opponent, Prentiss Walker, benefited by voters supporting Barry Goldwater in his presidential campaign in the state.

Early life and education[edit]

Born near Philadelphia, Mississippi, Winstead attended the public schools, Clarke Memorial College in Newton, Mississippi; and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. He graduated in 1931 from the University of Southern Mississippi, then known as Mississippi Southern College, at Hattiesburg.

Winstead was a farmer. In his first elected office, he became the superintendent of education in his native Neshoba County, serving from 1935 to 1942.

Political career[edit]

Winstead was elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-eighth and to the ten succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1943-January 3, 1965). Like nearly all of the state's Democrats, he was an ardent segregationist, and signed the Southern Manifesto after the United States Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that segregated schools were unconstitutional.

Having won the Democratic Party primary in what was essentially a one-party state since the state constitution's effective disfranchisement of blacks in 1890, Winstead was unopposed in his first bid for Congress. He faced an opponent once during his 10 successful campaigns. The Republican Party had declined after disfranchisement of most of its members. Democratic nomination was tantamount to election.

But, in 1964, Winstead was defeated by Republican challenger Prentiss Walker by a shocking 11-point margin.[1] Winstead was swept out in large part due to the district and state swinging dramatically to support Barry Goldwater's presidential bid. Goldwater carried many of the state's counties by well over 90 percent of the vote.

Return to private life[edit]

Winstead resumed agricultural pursuits. He later became an automobile dealer. From 1968 to 1971, he was appointed as the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Welfare under Governor John Bell Williams, one of his former U.S. House colleagues.

Winstead died at the age of ninety-one in Philadelphia, Mississippi. He is interred there at Cedar Lawn Cemetery.


  1. ^ [1]
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John B. Williams
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Prentiss Walker
Preceded by
Ross Collins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
William M. Colmer