A Fair View at Fairview

John Sparkman Letter and Pic 4a.jpg

CULLMAN – Senator John Sparkman was born December 20, 1899 in Hartselle, AL. He was the seventh of 11 children of Joseph Whitten and Julia Mitchell Kent Sparkman. He represented Alabama for 42 years in the U. S. Congress, first in the House of Representatives from 1937 to 1946, and then in the Senate from 1946 to 1979. Over time, he became known as one of the nation's most skilled legislators, and in 1952 won the Democratic nomination for vice‑president.

Even though Sparkman consistently opposed civil rights legislation, he was viewed as a liberal during his years in the House and his first three Senate terms because of his strong support for unions, public housing, aid to education, hospital and health-care funding, increased public-works spending, higher minimum wages, veterans programs and small businesses.

Intimidated by the popularity of Governor George Wallace in 1962, Alabama's senators moved sharply to the right and began voting more and more with a conservative congressional coalition of southern Democrats and Republicans. Republicans tried mightily to defeat Sparkman, despite his growth in conservatism. But in 1966 and again in 1972, he won each election by a landslide vote.

In 1967, Senator Sparkman became chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency, but in 1975 he gave up that position to head the more prestigious Committee on Foreign Relations. Unfortunately, age had reduced the skills and acuity of the once vital senator, and he was criticized repeatedly for his poor leadership of the committee. As a result, Sparkman announced he would not seek re-election in 1978. He retired from politics the following year. He spent his final years in Huntsville and died there on November 16, 1985. 

Senator John Sparkman toured Cullman County in late October 1966. A large motorcade accompanied him across the county. The picture by Mr. Grover Smith was taken at this time in Fairview. The following people appear in the picture. Do you see anyone you know?

Senator H.G. Allen, B.C. Eddins, Horace Culpepper, Russell Plunkett, Mrs. Jack Moore, Judge Tankersley, Robert Schaefer, Jim Folsom, Jim D. Moody, Herman Plunkett, Roy Drinkard, Mr. and Mrs. Luther Morris, G.W. Pinkard, Jim Reese, Harold H. Keeton, Troy Reese, L.T. Dunkin, G.W. Bledsoe, Glenn Reid, Hubert Dunkin, Homer Cornett, Mr. and Mrs. Pete Bailey, Doctor Moore, Robert A. Sapp, Marvin Barrington, Monroe Brock, Lelston Mullins, Robin Cummings, Hilary Warren, Mrs. Tom Drake, Mrs. Fred Folsom, Mrs. John Starnes and Mrs. Sid McDonald.