John Buchanan Jr
John Hall Buchanan Jr (born March 19, 1928 in Paris, Tennessee; died March 5, 2018 in Rockville, Maryland) was pastor of Southside Baptist Church from 1937 to 1957, and a Republican member of Congress, who represented the 6th Congressional District of Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1981.
Buchanan grew up in Tennessee and joined the United States Navy in 1945. After the end of World War II he enrolled at Howard College in Birmingham. After earning his bachelor's degree in 1949 he entered the University of Virginia, but later transferred to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, completing his doctoral degree in theology in 1957.
Buchanan served as a minister to Baptist churches in Tennessee and Virginia before returning to Birmingham in 1937 to take the pulpit at Southside Baptist Church.
Buchanan also served as finance director for the Alabama Republican Party. In 1962 he ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in the at-large election for a seat on the House of Representatives. In his campaign he criticized the weak response by Alabama's congressional delegation to the Kennedy administration's involvement in Civil Rights controversies. He led all Republicans in the field with 141,202 votes, but finished behind eighth-place finisher Carl Elliott in the balloting.
In the 1964 general election Buchanan easily defeated George Huddleston Jr, whose 9th District had been eliminated after the 1960 census. He rode the coattails of conservative Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. Goldwater was popular in Alabama because, unlike Lyndon Johnson, he opposed the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the grounds that it assumed powers from the individual states.
While serving in congress, Buchanan emerged as a "moderate" on Civil Rights issues. He joined with Georgia Democrat Charles Weltner to investigate illegal activities of the Ku Klux Klan and was hailed for hiring African Americans to his staff and supporting the applications of black students to the military academies.
He opposed the Medicare Act, but supported, as a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, the passage of Title IX, which required college athletic departments to provide opportunities to female athletes. On the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Buchanan supported human rights efforts on behalf of Jewish and Christian minorities in communist countries and oppressed black majorities in Southern Rhodesia and South Africa. He helped to write the Foreign Service Act of 1980 and was recognized by the U.S. State Department for his efforts on behalf of women in the foreign service.
Buchanan's role in foreign affairs led to his appointment to the United States delegation to the 28th United Nations General Assembly and to several special assemblies and commissions, including the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1977 and 1978.
Buchanan was challenged in the 1978 Republican primary by the more conservative party activist Albert Smith Jr. He fended off that challenge, but lost to Smith by a wide margin in the 1980 primary. President Ronald Reagan re-appointed Buchanan to the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations, and he served on the UN's Human Rights Committee. He also served on the board of the People for the American Way and acted as the organization's national spokesman, often debating the religious right in media appearances.
Buchanan retired to Bethesda, Maryland after leaving congress. He and his wife, Betty raised two daughters and had three granddaughters. He was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2010. Buchanan died in March 2018.
|Representative, 6th Congressional District of Alabama
Albert Smith Jr
- "John Hall Buchanan, Jr." (August 19, 20169) Wikipedia - accessed September 22, 2016
- Garrison, Greg (March 9, 2018) "Former Alabama congressman, former pastor dies." The Birmingham News
- John H. Buchanan, Jr at the Alabama Academy of Honor