John Bankhead II
Bankhead is remembered as a spokesman in favor of farmers, and against civil rights for African Americans. After earning his law degree in 1893 and practicing law for ten with his brother William, Bankhead was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1903. After Alabama's grandfather clause, that disenfranchised most black voters, was declared unconstitutional, Bankhead was one of the authors of Alabama's revised voting law that effectively kept most black voters from registering, through a series of tests and poll taxes. Following his controversial win over Heflin in 1930, the Senator from Alabama 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. In 1943, he sponsored legislation to exempt "substantially fulltime" farm workers from the draft during World War II. Bankhead was in third place, with 98 votes, when delegates to the 1944 Democratic National Convention were considering President Roosevelt's running mate. He made a surprise withdrawal of his candidacy in favor of his Senate colleague, Harry S. Truman, who was elected Vice-President and succeeded to presidency in 1945. On May 24, 1946, Senator Bankhead suffered a stroke while attending an evening Senate committee meeting. Three weeks later, he died at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He was the brother of Speaker of the House William Bankhead, and the uncle of actress Talullah Bankhead.
- John H. Bankhead II. (2007, December 5). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:43, February 25, 2008.