Bankhead II, John H.


Alabama US Senator 1930-46, favored farmers, opposed African-American civil rights



Autograph ID: 4273
Condition: Very good, tiny fold separation lower right
Description: “(1872-1946) Alabama US Senator (D), like his father, John H. Bankhead, elected 3 times to the Senate and died in office. He was the brother of Speaker of the House Wm. B. Bankhead and uncle of actress Talullah Bankhead. He served in the Senate 1931, to his death on June 12, 1946. He was first elected to the Senate in 1930 by defeating J. Thomas Heflin, who had succeeded his father. He served as chairman of the Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation and is remembered as a spokesman for farmers and against civil rights for African Americans. He was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1903. After Alabama’s grandfather clause that disenfranchised most black voters was declared unconstitutional, Bankhead was an author of Alabama’s revised voting law that effectively kept most black voters from registering through a series of tests and poll taxes. He worked at the passage of various pieces of New Deal legislation to benefit cotton farmers, including the Subsistence Homestead Act of 1933, the Cotton Control Act of 1934 and the parity payment amendments to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. He sponsored 1943 legislation to exempt “substantially fulltime” farm workers from the WW II draft. Bankhead was 3rd, with 98 votes, when delegates to the 1944 Democratic Convention considered President Roosevelt’s running mate. He surprisingly withdrew his candidacy in favor of Senate colleague Harry S Truman, who was elected VP and succeeded to presidency in 1945.

ALS as Senator-elect on 11 x 8 ½ letterhead as Senate candidate, Birmingham, November 14 1930, to a Seattle man thanking him for his congratulations (on his election).”

Type: Letter

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