|73rd Governor of Georgia|
January 13, 1959 –January 15, 1963
|Lieutenant||Garland T. Byrd|
|Preceded by||Marvin Griffin|
|Succeeded by||Carl Sanders|
|3rd Lieutenant Governor of Georgia|
January 11,1955 –January 13,1959
|Preceded by||Marvin Griffin|
|Succeeded by||Garland T. Byrd|
Samuel Ernest Vandiver Jr.
|Died||February 21,2005 86) (aged|
|Spouse(s)||Sybil Elizabeth "Betty" Russell Vandiver|
|Children||Ernest "Chip" Vandiver,III|
Vanna Elizabeth Vandiver
|Alma mater|| University of Georgia |
University of Georgia School of Law
|Branch/service||United States Army Air Corps|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Samuel Ernest Vandiver Jr. (July 3,1918 –February 21,2005) was an American politician who was the 73rd Governor of the U.S. state of Georgia from 1959 to 1963.
Vandiver was born in Canon in Franklin County in northeastern Georgia. He was the only child of Vanna Bowers and Samuel Ernest Vandiver. His mother had two children from a previous marriage,which ended with the death of her first husband. Vandiver's father was a prominent businessman,farmer,and landowner in Franklin County. Vandiver attended public schools in Lavonia and the Darlington School in Rome,Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia and the University of Georgia School of Law,both in Athens.
After stateside service as an officer in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II,he was elected in 1946 as mayor of Lavonia in Franklin County. That same year he supported Eugene Talmadge's candidacy for governor and then Herman Talmadge's claim to the office after Eugene's death.
In 1948,Talmadge appointed Vandiver to be the state's adjutant general. In 1954,Vandiver was elected lieutenant governor.
He ran for governor in 1958 and promised to restore the state's image,which had been tarnished by scandals under Governor Marvin Griffin under whom he had served in the second position. Vandiver was overwhelmingly elected. He succeeded Griffin as both lieutenant governor and governor.
As governor,Vandiver cleaned up the corruption and mismanagement associated with the Griffin administration. He had pledged to defend segregation,using the campaign motto,"No,not one," meaning not one black child in a white school.
During the presidential election of 1960,Vandiver supported John F. Kennedy,but not fully. Vandiver favored "independent" electors. This led to the erosion of the Democratic party in the South,and southern resistance to the civil rights movement.In March 1960,Vandiver called "An Appeal for Human Rights",an article published in the Atlanta Constitution by black students at Spelman College,"an anti-American document" that "does not sound like it was written in this country". Vandiver worked behind the scenes with Kennedy and his brother Robert and ultimately played a role in obtaining the release of Martin Luther King Jr. from jail. King had been arrested during a sit-in at Rich's in Atlanta on October 19,1960.
Vandiver changed from his "No, not one" stance on segregation. Those urging him to change included Ivan Allen Jr. (later mayor of Atlanta), banker Mills B. Lane, Coca-Cola President Robert Woodruff, Griffin Bell (later a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the United States Attorney General under U.S. President Jimmy Carter), and many others.
Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Vandiver said, "All the world is shocked and grieved at the death of our President. I am certain that all Georgians join together in sending our condolences to the grieved family."
Under Vandiver's administration, a United States District Court ordered the admission of two African-American students, Hamilton E. Holmes and Charlayne Hunter, to the University of Georgia. Despite his past support for segregation, Governor Vandiver did not resist the court order,sparing the University of Georgia the national publicity associated with the opposition stands taken in 1962 by Governor Ross Barnett at the University of Mississippi and in 1963 by Governor George C. Wallace at the University of Alabama. After the desegregation of the University of Georgia, Vandiver successfully urged the Georgia General Assembly to repeal a recently passed law barring state funding to integrated schools. He also appointed banker John A. Sibley to head a state commission designed to prepare for the court-ordered school desegregation.
He pledged to maintain the County Unit System, a type of electoral college that had been employed to elect Georgia governors,but it was struck down by a decision of the United States Supreme Court as unconstitutional. He then ordered the Democratic State Central Committee to conduct the 1962 primary by popular vote.
Vandiver's efficiency in running state government permitted a building program and the expansion of state services without tax increases. The state expanded its ports, encouraged tourism, promoted business and industry, expanded vocational-technical education, and authorized programs for the mentally ill.
In 1966, Vandiver was initially a candidate for governor and had been expected to compete with another former governor, Ellis Arnall. However, Vandiver withdrew for health reasons.When the Democratic nomination went not to Arnall but to the Atlanta businessman Lester Maddox, a strong segregationist, the Democrat Vandiver endorsed in the general election the Republican nominee, U.S. Representative Howard "Bo" Callaway, then of Pine Mountain. Maddox was ultimately elected by the Georgia legislature after election returns failed to produce a winner by majority vote.
Had Vandiver's health permitted him to run for governor in 1966, Callaway would have instead sought reelection to the U.S. House. When Vandiver looked like a potential Democratic nominee, Callaway asked William R. Bowdoin Sr. (1913–1996), an Atlanta banker and civic figure who had chaired a commission on state government reorganization, to run as a Republican gubernatorial candidate. Oddly, Carl Sanders, the term-limited governor, asked Bowdoin to run that year as a Democrat.
In 1972, at the age of fifty-four, Vandiver ran for the United States Senate for a full term to replace his wife's uncle, veteran Senator Richard Russell Jr., who had died in office in 1971. Vandiver finished third behind Sam Nunn and appointed Senator David H. Gambrell in the Democratic primary election. Nunn defeated the Republican Fletcher Thompson, an Atlanta-area U.S. representative even as Richard M. Nixon was sweeping Georgia in the presidential election against the Democrat George S. McGovern.
In his final years, he would express regret at his earlier segregationist positions. "I said a lot of intemperate things back then that I now have to live with," he said in 2002. "All I can say now is that you are of your time."
Vandiver was married to Betty Russell, a niece of Senator Russell, who had also served earlier as governor. Russell was popular and powerful in Georgia and helped to promote his nephew-in-law's career.
Vandiver was a son in law of Judge Robert Lee Russell and grandson-in-law of Judge Richard Russell Sr. For information, see Russell family.
Ernest Vandiver died on February 21, 2005, at the age of eighty-six at his home in Lavonia, Georgia. In addition to his wife, he was survived by three children: Samuel Ernest "Chip" Vandiver, III; Vanna Elizabeth (named for her paternal grandmother and mother) Vandiver; and Jane Brevard Vandiver, who as Jane V. Kidd was elected as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from Athens and in 2007 as the chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party.
The stretch of I-85 through Franklin County, Georgia, is named "Ernest Vandiver Highway" in his memory. Vandiver had worked to make sure the highway traversed Franklin County, instead of proceeding further north as originally planned.
On September 26, 2008, the University of Georgia dedicated a residence hall in the East Campus Village to Vandiver.
The 1960 United States presidential election was the 44th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 8, 1960. In a closely contested election, Democratic United States Senator John F. Kennedy defeated the incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon, the Republican Party nominee. This was the first election in which fifty states participated, and the last in which the District of Columbia did not, marking the first participation of Alaska and Hawaii. This made it the only presidential election where the threshold for victory was 269 electoral votes. It was also the first election in which an incumbent president was ineligible to run for a third term because of the term limits established by the 22nd Amendment.
Lester Garfield Maddox Sr. was an American politician who served as the 75th governor of the U.S. state of Georgia from 1967 to 1971. A populist Democrat, Maddox came to prominence as a staunch segregationist when he refused to serve black customers in his Atlanta restaurant, the Pickrick, in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He later served as Georgia lieutenant governor under Jimmy Carter.
Richard Brevard Russell Jr. was an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 66th Governor of Georgia from 1931 to 1933 before serving in the United States Senate for almost 40 years, from 1933 to 1971. Russell was a founder and leader of the conservative coalition that dominated Congress from 1937 to 1963, and at his death was the most senior member of the Senate. He was for decades a leader of Southern opposition to the civil rights movement.
Griffin Boyette Bell was the 72nd Attorney General of the United States, having served under President Jimmy Carter. Previously, he was a U.S. Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Herman Eugene Talmadge was an American politician who served as governor of Georgia for a short period in 1947 and then again from 1948 until 1955 then as U.S. Senator from Georgia from 1957 to 1981. Talmadge, a Democrat, was governor at a time of political transition in the state, and he served in the Senate during a time of great political change in the nation as well. Talmadge began his career as a staunch segregationist and was known for his opposition to civil rights, ordering schools to be closed rather than desegregated. However, by the later stages of his career Talmadge had modified his earlier views and his life eventually encapsulated the emergence of his native Georgia from entrenched white supremacy into a political culture where white voters regularly elect black Congressmen.
Eugene Talmadge was an attorney and American politician who served three terms as the 67th governor of Georgia, from 1933 to 1937, and then again from 1941 to 1943. Elected to a fourth term in November 1946, he died before his inauguration, scheduled for January 1947. Only Talmadge and Joe Brown, in the mid-19th century, have been elected four times as governor of Georgia.
Ellis Gibbs Arnall was an American politician who served as the 69th Governor of Georgia from 1943 to 1947. A liberal Democrat, he helped lead efforts to abolish the poll tax and to reduce Georgia's voting age to 18. Following his departure from office, he became a highly successful attorney and businessman.
Howard Hollis "Bo" Callaway Sr. was an American politician and businessman from the U.S. state of Georgia. Initially a Democrat and a supporter of racial segregation, in 1964 he was the first Republican elected to Congress in Georgia since Reconstruction in the 1800s. In 1966, he narrowly lost a contested election for governor. He later served as Secretary of the Army, appointed by Richard Nixon. He worked with his family to develop what is now Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia and owned Crested Butte ski resort in Colorado.
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Charles Longstreet Weltner was an American jurist and politician from the U.S. state of Georgia.
The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies is an archive of political and historic primary documents relating to the modern American political system. The Russell Library is one of three Special Collections Libraries located in the Richard B. Russell Building on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens. The address is 300 S. Hull Street. The Russell Library is a department within the University of Georgia Libraries that reports to the University Librarian.
Garland Turk Byrd was United States Democratic politician from Georgia, who served as the fourth Lieutenant Governor of Georgia from 1959 to 1963.
The 1966 Georgia gubernatorial election was held on November 8, 1966. After an election that exposed divisions within the Georgia Democratic Party, segregationist Democrat Lester Maddox was elected Governor of Georgia by the Georgia General Assembly. The voting also brought future President Jimmy Carter to statewide prominence for the first time. The election was very close.
The 1958 Georgia gubernatorial election was held on November 4, 1958.
Gridiron Secret Society, founded in 1908, is a secret society at the University of Georgia. Gridiron has been called "the highest honor a male student may receive on the University of Georgia campus.". It has also been recognized as one of the "Top 10 Secret Member's Clubs" in the world.
The county unit system was a voting system used by the U.S. state of Georgia to determine a victor in statewide primary elections from 1917 until 1962.
The 1972 United States Senate election in Georgia took place on November 7, 1972, as one of that year's United States Senate elections. It was held concurrently with the 1972 presidential election. This seat had opened up following the death of Richard B. Russell in 1971. Shortly thereafter, Governor of Georgia Jimmy Carter appointed David H. Gambrell to fill Russell's vacant seat. The Democratic Party nominee was Sam Nunn, a conservative Democrat and member of the Georgia House of Representatives, and the Republican Party nominated Fletcher Thompson, the Representative from the Atlanta-area 5th congressional district of Georgia. In the primary, Nunn emerged victorious from a crowded field of Democratic candidates, including Gambrell and former Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver. Despite President Richard Nixon defeating George McGovern in Georgia in the presidential election on the same day, Nunn defeated Thompson in the general election 54% to 46%. As of December 2021, this is the earliest Senate election where both major party nominees are still living.
Jane Vandiver Kidd is a retired Georgia politician.
The Atlanta sit-ins were a series of sit-ins that took place in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Occurring during the sit-in movement of the larger civil rights movement, the sit-ins were organized by the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, which consisted of students from the Atlanta University Center. The sit-ins were inspired by the Greensboro sit-ins, which had started a month earlier in Greensboro, North Carolina with the goal of desegregating the lunch counters in the city. The Atlanta protests lasted for almost a year before an agreement was made to desegregate the lunch counters in the city.
Roy Vincent Harris was a politician in the U.S. state of Georgia during the mid-1900s. From the 1920s until the 1940s, Harris served several terms in both the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia State Senate, and he served as the speaker of the house from 1937 to 1940 and again from 1943 to 1946. Historian Harold Paulk Henderson has called Harris "one of Georgia's most capable behind-the-scenes politicians".