Wyche Fowler, Jr. was once known as the “night mayor of City Hall” working as a troubleshooter for Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr.
As a 29-year-old law student, Fowler won election to Atlanta’s City Council in 1970. He lost a congressional bid to Andrew Young in 1972. But when Young became ambassador to the United Nations, Fowler ran in a special election in 1977 and won, defeating John Lewis.
Fowler was the only white congressman in the country re-elected four times by a constituency that was 65 percent black. In 1986, Fowler beat incumbent Mack Mattingly for his U.S. Senate seat, traveling to all 159 counties. He served only one term, defeated by Republican Paul Coverdell in 1992. Four years later, President Bill Clinton appointed Fowler as ambassador to Saudi Arabia, where terrorists made three attempts on his life.
Wyche Fowler’s remarkable career on the national stage began with his first election to Congress on April 5, 1977, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.