Thomas B. Stanley

Last updated
Thomas Stanley
Thomas Bahnson Stanley.jpg
57th Governor of Virginia
In office
January 20, 1954 January 11, 1958
Lieutenant Allie Edward Stakes Stephens
Preceded by John S. Battle
Succeeded by Lindsay Almond
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
June 24, 1956 June 23, 1957
Preceded by Arthur B. Langlie
Succeeded by William Stratton
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Virginia's 5th district
In office
November 5, 1946 February 3, 1953
Preceded by Thomas G. Burch
Succeeded by William M. Tuck
47th Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates
In office
January 14, 1942 November 5, 1946
Preceded by Ashton Dovell
Succeeded by G. Alvin Massenburg
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from Henry and Martinsville
In office
January 13, 1932 November 5, 1946
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byWilley R. Broaddus
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from Henry
In office
January 8, 1930 January 13, 1932
Preceded by Sallie C. Booker
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born
Thomas Bahnson Stanley

(1890-07-16)July 16, 1890
Spencer, Virginia, U.S.
DiedJuly 10, 1970(1970-07-10) (aged 79)
Stanleytown, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Anne Bassett
Education Eastman Business College (BA)

Thomas Bahnson Stanley (July 16, 1890 July 10, 1970) was an American politician, furniture manufacturer and Holstein cattle breeder. [1] A Democrat and member of the Byrd Organization, Stanley served in a number of different political offices in Virginia, including as the 47th Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates and as the Commonwealth's 57th Governor. He became known for his support of the Massive Resistance strategy to prevent school desegregation mandated by the United States Supreme Court's decisions in Brown v. Board of Education , and Virginia's attempt to circumvent those decisions (ultimately overturned by both the Virginia Supreme Court and by federal courts) was known as the Stanley plan.

Contents

Early life

He was born to Crockett Stanley (January 8, 1838 March 12, 1915) and Susan Matilda Walker (August 17, 1845 April 9, 1922) on a farm near Spencer, Henry County, Virginia, the youngest of seven children. He married Anne Pocahontas Bassett (November 28, 1898 October 20, 1979) on October 24, 1918 in Bassett, Virginia. Anne was the daughter of John David Bassett (July 14, 1866 February 26, 1965), a founder of Bassett Furniture, and Nancy Pocahontas Hundley (November 21, 1862 January 11, 1953). Stanley graduated from Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1912.

Business

Stanley worked for his father-in-law's company, Bassett Furniture, as an executive until 1924, when he left and founded Stanley Furniture, [2] a leading Virginia furniture maker, in what would become Stanleytown, Virginia. His sons Thomas Bahnson Stanley, Jr. and John David Stanley joined him at Stanley Furniture.

Politics

As the Great Depression began, Henry County voters elected Stanley to represent them (part time) in the Virginia House of Delegates. Re-elected multiple times, he served from 1930 to 1946, and fellow delegates elected him their Speaker from 1942 to 1946. After the end of World War II, voters elected Stanley to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he represented Virginia's 5th district from November 5, 1946 until February 3, 1953 when Stanley resigned on to run for Virginia's governor. Fellow Byrd Organization loyalist and former Virginia Governor William M. Tuck succeeded to the seat.

The Byrd Organization selected Stanley to be the Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia in 1953, and he won the Democratic primary. In the general election, Stanley handily defeated Republican Ted Dalton and Independent Howard Carwile. He served as the Governor of Virginia from 1954 to 1958. As governor, Stanley improved the administration of state hospitals and increased funding to mental hospitals and public schools.

While governor, Stanley became embroiled in conflict. The budget fight between the Old Guard of the Byrd Organization and the Young Turks (many returning military veterans) over budget surpluses and historic underfunding of education (especially egregious with respect to non-white Virginians) in the 1954 legislative session affected relations in the state's Democratic Party for a generation. Stanley supported segregation, and the United States Supreme Court declared such illegal twice in Brown v. Board of Education (which included a companion case from Prince Edward County, Virginia). After the 1954 Brown decision, Governor Stanley appointed a committee of mainly politicians from Southside Virginia (historically over-represented in the Virginia General Assembly and which depended politically on various methods of disenfranchising non-white Virginians) to study ways to preserve segregation through legislative means, including a school voucher program. Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Harry Byrd, Sr. declared the strategy known as Massive Resistance, while Richmond News Leader publisher James J. Kilpatrick advocated a more drastic policy, which passed a special legislative session in 1956 and became known as the Stanley plan. Most parts were declared illegal by Virginia and federal courts within three years, long after Governor Stanley's term had ended. In fact, although Governor Stanley had vowed to close schools to prevent their desegregation, that aspect of the plan was first tested under the next Governor, Lindsay Almond after a federal panel ordered desegregation of Charlottesville schools in 1958. [3]

Electoral history

Later years

After his gubernatorial term ended, Stanley resumed his oversight of the furniture business, as well as became vice president and director of the First National Bank, and chairman of the Commission on State and Local Revenues and Expenditures. [4] However, the Byrd Organization imploded in the 1960s, after U.S. Supreme Court decisions upholding the one-man, one-vote principle, including Davis v. Mann.

Death

Stanley died in Martinsville, Virginia on July 10, 1970 and is buried in Roselawn Burial Park. His home Stoneleigh was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. [5]

Related Research Articles

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Charles Rogers Fenwick was a patent attorney and Virginia Democratic politician aligned with the Byrd Organization who served part-time in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate representing Arlington County.

Allie Edward Stakes Stephens, usually known as "A. E. S." or "Gi" Stephens, was a Virginia lawyer and Democratic Party politician who served in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly and as the 27th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1952 to 1962. His state political career ended with a loss in the Democratic primary for Governor in 1961, after he and Governor James Lindsay Almond Jr. broke with the Byrd Organization, which wanted to continue its policy of Massive Resistance to desegregation of Virginia's schools after both the Virginia Supreme Court and a 3-judge federal panel ruled most elements unconstitutional in 1959.

The Commission on Public Education, known as the VPEC or Gray Commission, was a 32-member commission established by Governor of Virginia Thomas B. Stanley on August 23, 1954 to study the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Brown v. Board of Education issued on May 17, 1954 and May 31, 1955, and to make recommendations. Its counsel were David J. Mays and his associate Henry T. Wickham.

Garland Gray was a long-time Democratic member of the Virginia Senate representing Southside Virginia counties, including his native Sussex. A lumber and banking executive, Gray became head of the Democratic Caucus in the Virginia Senate, and vehemently opposed school desegregation after the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and 1955. Although Senator Harry F. Byrd himself supported Massive Resistance, and preferred Gray over other candidates, the Byrd Organization refused to wholeheartedly support Gray's bid to become the party's gubernatorial candidate in 1957, so James Lindsay Almond Jr. won that party's primary and later the Governorship.

Kathryn Haesler Stone was an American teacher, housewife, author, civic activist and Democratic politician who represented Arlington, Virginia part-time in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1954 to 1966.

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Earl Abbath Fitzpatrick was a Virginia lawyer and member of the Virginia General Assembly representing Roanoke between 1940 and 1959, first as a delegate and then as a state Senator. A lieutenant in the Byrd Organization, Fitzpatrick was active in the Massive Resistance to racial integration vowed by U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd after the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Brown v. Board of Education. He introduced much of the segregationist legislation and was vice-chairman of the Boatwright Committee which investigated the NAACP for litigating on behalf of civil rights, before being defeated in the 1959 Democratic primary.

Vernon Spitler Shaffer was an American farmer and Republican politician who represented Shenandoah County part-time in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1950 until his death in 1958.

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References

  1. Eskridge, Sarah K. "Thomas B. Stanley (1890–1970)". Encyclopedia Virginia . Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  2. "Company History for Stanley Furniture Company, Inc". Answer.com. Retrieved 12 November 2009.
  3. https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Stanley_Thomas_Bahnson_1890-1970#start_entry
  4. https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Stanley_Thomas_Bahnson_1890-1970#start_entry
  5. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas G. Burch
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

1946–1953
Succeeded by
William M. Tuck
Party political offices
Preceded by
John S. Battle
Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia
1953
Succeeded by
Lindsay Almond
Political offices
Preceded by
John S. Battle
Governor of Virginia
1954–1958
Succeeded by
Lindsay Almond
Preceded by
Arthur B. Langlie
Chair of the National Governors Association
1956–1957
Succeeded by
William Stratton