He was one of the most powerful Americans of the 20th century and served in public office for more than half of it.
Richard Brevard Russell, Jr., born in Winder in 1897, graduated from the University of Georgia’s Law School. He immediately entered politics, winning election to the state legislature at 23. At 33, he was governor.
Two years later, Russell won election to the U.S. Senate. He never left, serving there 38 years, until his death in 1971.
He became a lion of the Senate, where he championed agriculture and school lunches. Georgia’s senior senator was a powerful authority on military and defense policy, and a fierce opponent of all civil rights legislation.
During the Cold War, Russell served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He secured funding for 15 military installations in Georgia. On the Appropriations Committee, he brought more than 25 research facilities to the state, including the Centers for Disease Control. Dean Rusk said Russell’s power was second only to the president’s.
The man who served as advisor for six presidents was born on November 2, 1897, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.