Ernest Vandiver

Ernest Vandiver

Ernest Vandiver
Ernest Vandiver (1962)
73rd Governor of Georgia
In office
January 13, 1959 – January 15, 1963
Lieutenant Garland T. Byrd
Preceded by Marvin Griffin
Succeeded by Carl Sanders
3rd Lieutenant Governor of Georgia
In office
Governor Marvin Griffin
Preceded by Marvin Griffin
Succeeded by Garland T. Byrd
Personal details
Born Samuel Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
(1918-07-03)July 3, 1918
Canon, Georgia
Died February 21, 2005(2005-02-21) (aged 86)
Lavonia, Georgia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sybil Elizabeth "Betty" Russell Vandiver

Ernest "Chip" Vandiver, III
Vanna Elizabeth Vandiver

Jane Brevard Kidd
Alma mater

University of Georgia

University of Georgia School of Law
Profession Lawyer; Farmer; Banker
Religion Baptist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army Air Corps
Battles/wars World War II

Samuel Ernest Vandiver, Jr. (July 3, 1918 – February 21, 2005), was an American politician who was the Georgia from 1959 to 1963.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Governor of Georgia 2
  • Later career 3
  • Marriage and the Russell family 4
  • Death 5
  • Memorials 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life and career

Vandiver was born in Athens.[1]

After stateside service as an officer in the Lavonia in Franklin County. That same year he supported Eugene Talmadge's candidacy for governor that year and then Herman Talmadge's claim to the office after Eugene's death.

In 1948, Talmadge appointed Vandiver to be the state's ran for governor in 1958 and promised to restore the state's image, which had been tarnished by the scandals under Governor Marvin Griffin under whom he had served in the second position. Vandiver was overwhelmingly elected. Oddly, he succeeded Griffin as both lieutenant governor and governor.

Governor of Georgia

As governor, Vandiver cleaned up the corruption and mismanagement associated with the Griffin administration. He had pledged to defend segregation, using the campaign motto, "No, not one," meaning not one black child in a white school.[2] In March 1960, Vandiver called "An Appeal for Human Rights", an article published in the Atlanta Constitution by black students at Spelman College, "an anti-American document" that "does not sound like it was written in this country".[3]

Under Vandiver's administration, a

Political offices
Preceded by
Marvin Griffin
Lieutenant Governor of Georgia
Succeeded by
Garland T. Byrd
Governor of Georgia
Succeeded by
Carl Sanders
  • New Georgia Encyclopedia: Ernest Vandiver
  • Ernest Vandiver
  • Governor Ernest Vandiver's Public Education Address in response to federal desegration of the University of Georgia, January 18, 1961. From the collection of the Georgia Archives.

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e "Ernest Vandiver, Jr. (1918-2005)". Retrieved April 28, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Gettleman, Jeffrey (December 22, 2002). "South's leaders in pre-civil rights era reflect on records with regret". SFGate. Retrieved Nov 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1994, 2002), p. 28)
  4. ^ Billy Hathorn, "The Frustration of Opportunity: The Georgia Election of 1966", Atlanta History: A Journal of Georgia and the South, XXI (Winter 1987-1988), pp. 42, 47
  5. ^ Atlanta History, p. 44


On September 26, 2008, the University of Georgia dedicated a residence hall in the East Campus Village to Vandiver.

The stretch of I-85 through Franklin County, Georgia, is named "Ernest Vandiver Highway" in his memory. Vandiver had worked to make sure the highway traversed Franklin County, instead of proceeding further as originally planned.


[1] Ernest Vandiver died on February 21, 2005, at the age of eighty-six at his home in Lavonia, Georgia. In addition to his wife, he was survived by three children: Samuel Ernest "Chip" Vandiver, III; Vanna Elizabeth (named for her paternal grandmother and mother) Vandiver; and Jane Brevard Vandiver, who as Jane V. Kidd was elected as a member of the


Vandiver was a nephew by marriage of Judge Robert Lee Russell and grandson-in-law of Judge Richard Russell, Sr. For information, see Russell family.

Vandiver was married to Betty Russell, a niece of Senator Russell, who had also served earlier as governor. Russell was popular and powerful in Georgia and helped to promote his nephew-in-law's career.

Marriage and the Russell family

In his final years, he would express regret at his earlier segregationist positions. I said a lot of intemperate things back then that I now have to live with," he said in 2002. "All I can say now is that you are of your time."[2]

In 1972, at the age of fifty-four, Vandiver ran for the George S. McGovern.

Had Vandiver's health permitted him to run for governor in 1966, Callaway would have instead sought reelection to the U.S. House. When Vandiver looked like a potential Democratic nominee, Callaway asked William R. Bowdoin, Sr. (1913-1996), an Atlanta banker and civic figure who had chaired a commission on state government reorganization, to run as a Republican gubernatorial candidate. Oddly, Carl Sanders, the term-limited governor, asked Bowdoin to run that year as a Democrat.[5]

[4] In

Later career

One of Vandiver's aides was Griffin Bell, later a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the United States Attorney General under U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Vandiver efficiency in running state government permitted a building program and the expansion of state services without tax increases. The state expanded its ports, encouraged tourism, promoted business and industry, expanded vocational-technical education, and authorized programs for the mentally ill.[1]

Though he had been pledged to maintain the United States Supreme Court, which struck down the system as unconstitutional. He hence ordered the Democratic State Central Committee to conduct the 1962 primary by popular vote.[1]