Harry F. Byrd

Title

Harry F. Byrd

Description

Harry F. Byrd, a Virginia senator, governor and later a US senator, led the political machine known as the Byrd Organization, which dominated Virginia politics for forty years.

Source

Library of Virginia

Date

1933

Format

JPG

Birth Date

June 10, 1887

Birthplace

Martinsburg, West Virginia

Death Date

October 20, 1966

Biographical Text

Harry F. Byrd was first elected to the Virginia Senate in 1915 and remained in office until 1925. He served as governor from 1926 to 1930. Byrd was known for his "pay as you go" spending philosophy in which state money was spent only when enough taxes came in to cover costs.

While governor, Byrd oversaw the passage of one of the nation's strictest anti-lynching laws. Like many white elites of Virginia, Byrd was opposed to the violent practices of the Ku Klux Klan and preferred to manage race relations using the legislature. Interestingly, the Public Assemblages Act, which mandated segregation in public spaces, passed into law without his signature.

Byrd was later elected to the U.S. Senate where he served from 1933 to 1965. There he earned a reputation as a harsh opponent of the New Deal and the Civil Rights Movement. When the Supreme Court handed down the Brown v. Board decision in 1954, Byrd helped write the "Southern Manifesto," a joint resolution between 19 senators and 77 House of Representatives members condemning Brown v. Board. He led the Massive Resistance movement and attempted to keep Virginia's schools segregated for as long as possible.

Description

Harry F. Byrd, a Virginia senator, governor and later a US senator, led the political machine known as the Byrd Organization, which dominated Virginia politics for forty years.

Date

1933

Birth Date

June 10, 1887

Death Date

October 20, 1966

Source

Library of Virginia