Lillian Smith (1897-1966) was one of the first white southern authors to crusade against the evils of segregation.
A child of the South, she was deemed a traitor to the South for her stance on racial and gender equality. A friend of Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr., she used her fame after writing a bestselling novel ("Strange Fruit") to denounce the toxic social conditions that repressed the lives and imaginations of both blacks and whites.
Segregation amounted to "spiritual lynching" she said.
Before the Civil Rights Movement took off in the late 1950s, she was a voice of reason in the North. Here was a southern woman who remained in the South and wasn't afraid to break the silence against the demagogues.