H. Brandt "Brandy" Ayers, the small-town publisher who turned The Anniston Star into a voice for integration in the 1960s, died Sunday, May 3, friends and family members say. He was 85.
“For all of my life, he was at the head of a good small newspaper, a good community newspaper and just a good newspaper of any size,” said Pulitzer-winning reporter Rick Bragg, a former Star reporter. “And he put out a progressive newspaper at a time when it would have been easier to pander.”
Ayers assumed control of the family-owned paper in the mid-1960s, and soon turned The Anniston Star into one of the few locally owned papers to take an integrationist stand in the civil rights era.