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John Sparkman
""Alabama Sen. John Sparkman.jpg
"United States Senator
from "Alabama
In office
November 6, 1946 – January 3, 1979
Preceded by "George R. Swift
Succeeded by "Howell Heflin
Chairman of the "Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1979
Preceded by "J. William Fulbright
Succeeded by "Frank Church
Chairman of the "Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1975
Preceded by "A. Willis Robertson
Succeeded by "William Proxmire
Chairman of the "Senate Select Committee on Small Business
In office
January 3, 1955 – January 3, 1967
Preceded by "Edward John Thye
Succeeded by "George Smathers
In office
February 20, 1950 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by Edward John Thye
Succeeded by George Smathers
"House Majority Whip
In office
January 1, 1946 – November 6, 1946
Leader "John W. McCormack
Preceded by "Robert Ramspeck
Succeeded by "Leslie C. Arends
Member of the
"U.S. House of Representatives
from "Alabama's "8th district
In office
January 3, 1937 – November 6, 1946
Preceded by "Archibald Hill Carmichael
Succeeded by "Robert E. Jones, Jr.
Personal details
Born John Jackson Sparkman
December 20, 1899
"Hartselle, Alabama, US
Died November 16, 1985(1985-11-16) (aged 85)
"Huntsville, Alabama
Resting place "Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama
Nationality American
Political party "Democratic
Spouse(s) Ivo Sparkman
"Alma mater "University of Alabama
"University of Alabama School of Law
Military service
Allegiance  "United States
Service/branch  "United States Army
Unit "Student Army Training Corps, "World War I

John Jackson Sparkman (December 20, 1899 – November 16, 1985) was an American politician from the state of "Alabama. A "Southern Democrat, Sparkman served in the "United States House of Representatives and the "United States Senate from 1937 until 1979. He was also the "Democratic Party's nominee for "Vice President in the "1952 presidential election.

Born in "Morgan County, Alabama, Sparkman established a legal practice in "Huntsville, Alabama after graduating from the "University of Alabama School of Law. He won election to the House in 1936 and served as House Majority Whip in 1946. He left the House in 1946 after winning a special election to succeed Senator "John H. Bankhead II. While in the Senate, he helped establish "Marshall Space Flight Center and served as the chairman of several committees.

Sparkman served as "Adlai Stevenson II's running mate in the 1952 presidential election, but they were defeated by the "Republican ticket of "Dwight D. Eisenhower and "Richard Nixon. After the "Supreme Court decision of "Brown v. Board of Education, Sparkman signed the "Southern Manifesto, which pledged opposition to racial integration. He became the longest-serving Senator from Alabama in 1977. Sparkman chose not to seek re-election in 1978, and retired from public office the following year.

Contents

Early life and education[edit]

Sparkman, a son of Whitten Joseph and Julia Mitchell (Kent) Sparkman, was born on a farm near "Hartselle, in "Morgan County, "Alabama.[2] He grew up in a four-room cabin with his eleven brothers and sisters. His father was a tenant farmer and doubled as the county's deputy sheriff. As a child, John Sparkman worked on his father's farm picking cotton.[3]

He attended a one-room elementary school in rural Morgan County, then walked 4 miles (6.4 km) every day to his high school.[4] Sparkman graduated from Morgan County High School in 1917 and enrolled in the "University of Alabama at "Tuscaloosa.[5] During "World War I, he was a member of the Students Army Training Corps .[6] Sparkman worked shoveling coal in the university's boiler room to help pay for his education.[7] He worked on "The Crimson White (the university's newspaper), becoming the paper's editor-in-chief, and served as his class's student-body president.[8] Sparkman was awarded a teaching fellowship in history and political science,[9] he became a founding member of the Gamma Alpha Chapter of "Pi Kappa Alpha in 1921, and was chosen as the university's "most outstanding senior" the same year.[8] He received his "Bachelor of Arts in 1921, and his "bachelor of laws from the "University of Alabama School of Law in 1923. In 1924, Sparkman earned his master's degree in history, writing his master thesis titled "The Kolb-Oates Campaign of 1894," on former "Confederate "colonel "William C. Oates's 1894 campaign for "Governor of Alabama.[10]

Legal career[edit]

""
""
From left: President "Harry S. Truman, Senator Sparkman (1952 Vice Presidential nominee) and "Adlai Stevenson II ("Governor, 1952 Presidential nominee) in the "Oval Office

Sparkman briefly worked as a high school teacher before he was "admitted to the "Alabama State Bar in 1925. He commenced his practice in "Huntsville.[11] He was also an instructor at Huntsville College from 1925 to 1928.[12] He was appointed as a U.S. Commissioner ("magistrate judge) for Alabama's northern judicial district, serving from 1930 to 1931.[2]

Sparkman was involved in many civic organizations, including serving as the district governor of the "Kiwanis Club of Huntsville in 1930,[13] and later serving as the president of the Huntsville "Chamber of Commerce.[14] A "Freemason, he was life member of "Helion Lodge#1 in Huntsville.[15] He was also member of the Huntsville "Scottish Rite bodies and a recipient of the Knight Commander Court of Honor (KCCH).

Political career[edit]

""
""
In 1970 "Wernher von Braun (right) was honored for his career in "Huntsville, Alabama, with the celebration of "Wernher von Braun Day." Among those participating were Sparkman (center) and "Alabama Governor "Albert Brewer (left).

After Representative "Archibald Hill Carmichael announced his retirement in 1936, Sparkman ran in the Democratic primary for the open seat. A teacher of the Big Brother Class at the First "Methodist Church in Huntsville, his campaign was successfully launched through fundraising, campaigning and advertising by students in his Sunday class.[14] Sparkman was elected to the "United States House of Representatives in the "1936 election, defeating "Union Party candidate, architect Harry J. Frahn[16] with 99.7% of the vote.[17] He was reelected in "1938, "1940, "1942, and "1944, serving in the "75th, "76th, "77th, "78th, and "79th Congresses. In 1946 he served as "House Majority Whip.[18] He was reelected in the "1946 House election to the "80th Congress and on the same date was "elected to the United States Senate in a "special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of "John H. Bankhead II, for the term ending on January 3, 1949. Sparkman resigned from the House of Representatives immediately following the election and began his Senate term on November 6, 1946. He served until his retirement on January 3, 1979, having not sought reelection in "1978.

He was chairman of the Select Committee on Small Business ("81st, "82nd, and "84th through "90th Congresses), co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Inaugural Arrangements ("86th Congress), chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency ("90th and "91st Congresses), co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Defense Production (91st and "93rd Congresses), "Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs ("92nd and 93rd Congresses), and a member of the "Committee on Foreign Relations ("94th and "95th Congress).

The 1943 Sparkman Act, which allowed women physicians to be commissioned as officers in the armed forces, was named for him.

In 1949, Sparkman was instrumental in convincing the "United States Department of the Army to transfer the missile development activities from "Fort Bliss, Texas, to "Redstone Arsenal. This brought "Wernher von Braun and the German "Operation Paperclip scientists and engineers to Huntsville, forming the foundation to what eventual became the "NASA "Marshall Space Flight Center.

Sparkman was a representative of the United States at the Fifth "General Assembly of the "United Nations in 1950.[1]

In 1952, he was the Democratic Party's nominee for Vice President, running on the ticket of "Adlai Stevenson. However, the election was won by the Republican candidate, "Dwight D. Eisenhower. Sparkman was slated against "Richard M. Nixon, a senatorial colleague from "California.

In 1956, Sparkman was one of 82 representatives and 19 senators who signed the "Southern Manifesto in opposition to the 1954 "U.S. Supreme Court decision "Brown v. Board of Education and "racial integration. In 1956, the Democrats did not renominate Sparkman as Stevenson's vice presidential running mate, opting instead for U.S. Senator "Estes Kefauver of neighboring "Tennessee (partly because he had refused to sign).[19] In 1957, Sparkman voted against HR 6127, the "Civil Rights Act of 1957.[20]

Later elections[edit]

In 1960, Sparkman defeated the Republican Julian E. Elgin of "Montgomery, who received 164,868 votes (29.8 percent) in the Senate contest. Six years later, Elgin ran again against Sparkman as an "Independent but polled few votes. In 1966, Sparkman defeated another Republican, "John Grenier, the former state GOP chairman and an attorney from "Birmingham, who polled 39 percent of the vote.

Initially, Grenier had planned to run for governor in 1966, and "James D. Martin was poised to oppose Sparkman, as Martin had four years earlier against Sparkman's colleague, "J. Lister Hill. However, "The New York Times predicted toppling the "tight one-party oligarchy" would be a herculean task. Though Sparkman trailed in some polls, The Times speculated that he would rebound because Alabamians were accustomed to voting straight Democratic "tickets.[21]

In his last Senate race in 1972, Sparkman easily defeated President Nixon's former "Postmaster General, the Republican businessman "Winton M. Blount of Montgomery, originally from "Union Springs. Blount, running without a specific endorsement from President Nixon, first had to dispatch Republican intraparty rivals James D. Martin and state Representative "Bert Nettles.[22]

On October 30, 1977, Sparkman became the longest-serving senator in the "history of Alabama.[23]

Death[edit]

On November 16, 1985, Sparkman died of a "heart attack at Big Springs Manor Nursing Home in "Huntsville, Alabama. He was eighty-five.[24] Survived by his wife and daughter, he was interred in Huntsville at the historic "Maple Hill Cemetery.

Sparkman High School in "Harvest, Alabama, Sparkman School in "Somerville, Alabama, "Sparkman Drive in "Huntsville are all named in his honor.

Electoral history[edit]

1972 Alabama United States Senatorial Election

John Sparkman (D) (inc.) 62.3%
"Winton M. Blount (R) 33.1%

1966 Alabama United States Senatorial Election

John Sparkman (D) (inc.) 60.1%
"John Grenier (R) 39%

1960 Alabama United States Senatorial Election

John Sparkman (D) (inc.) 70.2%
Julian Elgin (R) 29.8%

1954 Alabama United States Senatorial Election

John Sparkman (D) (inc.) 82.5%
"J. Foy Guin, Jr. (R) 17.5%

1952 United States Presidential Election (Vice President's seat)

"Richard Nixon (R) 55.2%
John Sparkman (D) 44.3%
"Charlotta Bass (Progressive) 0.2%
"Enoch Holtwick (Prohibition) 0.1%

1948 Alabama United States Senatorial Election

John Sparkman (D) (inc.) 84%
John G. Parsons (R) 16%

1946 Alabama United States Senatorial Election

John Sparkman (D) Unopposed

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "John Jackson Sparkman 1899-1985". "Samford University. April 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Temnant S. McWillfams, James A. Lopez (July 1982). "Public Career of John Sparkman" (PDF). "University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Missing |last1= in Authors list ("help)["permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "JOHN SPARKMAN The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1969". Alabama Department of Archives and History. March 14, 2007. 
  4. ^ "FORMER SENATOR, VP CANDIDATE DEAD AT 86". "Associated Press. November 16, 1985. 
  5. ^ Samuel L. Webb (January 24, 2008). "John J. Sparkman". encyclopediaofalabama.org. 
  6. ^ "Steady Rise Has Marked John Sparkman's Career". "Rome News-Tribune. August 3, 1954. 
  7. ^ Carry It On: The War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, 1964-1972. "University of Georgia Press. 2008 – via books.google.com. 
  8. ^ a b "Senator Sparkman Man Of The Hour". "The Gadsden Times. April 10, 1966. 
  9. ^ "DEDICATION OF THE JOHN J. SPARKMAN CENTER FOR MISSILE EXCELLENCE". "United States Government Printing Office. September 20, 1994. 
  10. ^ Lynda Brown (1998). Alabama history: an annotated bibliography. books.google.com. 
  11. ^ "John J. Sparkman (1899-1985)". "Alabama State Bar. April 20, 2013. 
  12. ^ Andrew R. Dodge, "Betty K. Koed, ed. (2005). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005. "United States Government Printing Office. 
  13. ^ "Past Presidents Kiwanis Club of Huntsville" (PDF). "Kiwanis Club of "Huntsville, Alabama. April 21, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "From Log House To Senate Sparkman Story". "The Palm Beach Post. The Associated Press. August 3, 1952. 
  15. ^ "Universal Masonry Famous Masons". masonlar.org. 
  16. ^ "THE ALABAMA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION Historical Marker Program Colbert County". Alabama Department of Archives and History. September 13, 2012. 
  17. ^ Leroy D. Brandon (December 18, 1936). "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION ON NOVEMBER 3, 1936" (PDF). "Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. 
  18. ^ United States House of Representatives Office of the Historian. "Democratic Whips (1899 to present)". history.house.gov. 
  19. ^ "Crime Fighting Senator Kefauver Dies Unexpectedly" The Associated Press, as reported in the "Reading Eagle, Reading, Pennsylvania, August 10, 1963. Accessed July 18, 2012.
  20. ^ Vote Tally. Civil Rights Act of 1957 GovTrack.
  21. ^ "The New York Times, October 2, 1965, p. 1; October 14, 1965, p. 40
  22. ^ Billy Hathorn, "A Dozen Years in the Political Wilderness: The Alabama Republican Party, 1966–1978", Gulf Coast Historical Review, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Spring 1994), pp. 33–34
  23. ^ "STATES IN THE SENATE Alabama". senate.gov. April 21, 2013. 
  24. ^ "John Sparkman, former senator". "Bangor Daily News. "Associated Press. November 18, 1985. 

Writings by Sparkman[edit]

External links[edit]

A history of Senator Sparkman's career in the House of Representatives was written in 1990 by Dr. Henry Walker.

"U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
"Archibald Hill Carmichael
Member of the "U.S. House of Representatives
from "Alabama's 8th congressional district

1937–1946
Succeeded by
"Robert E. Jones, Jr.
"U.S. Senate
Preceded by
"George R. Swift
"U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Alabama
1946–1979
Served alongside: "J. Lister Hill, "James B. Allen,
"Maryon Pittman Allen, "Donald W. Stewart
Succeeded by
"Howell T. Heflin
Political offices
Preceded by
"Robert Ramspeck
Georgia
"House Majority Whip
1946
Succeeded by
"Leslie Cornelius Arends
Illinois
Preceded by
"Edward J. Thye
Minnesota
Chairman of the "Senate Small Business Committee
1955–1967
Succeeded by
"George Smathers
Florida
Preceded by
"A. Willis Robertson
Virginia
Chairman of the "Senate Banking Committee
1967–1975
Succeeded by
"William Proxmire
Wisconsin
Preceded by
"J. William Fulbright
Arkansas
Chairman of the "Senate Foreign Relations Committee
1975–1979
Succeeded by
"Frank Church
Idaho
Party political offices
Preceded by
"Robert Ramspeck
Georgia
"House Democratic Whip
1946
Succeeded by
"John William McCormack
Massachusetts
Preceded by
"Alben W. Barkley
"Democratic "nominee for
"Vice President of the United States

"1952
Succeeded by
"Estes Kefauver
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