Benjamin B. Blackburn

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Benjamin B. Blackburn
Benjamin B. Blackburn.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1975
Preceded by James MacKay
Succeeded by Elliott H. Levitas
Personal details
Born Benjamin Bentley Blackburn
(1927-02-14) February 14, 1927 (age 87)
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary A. Pandora Blackburn
Children Michael
Robert
Kathryn
David
Residence Jasper, Pickens County
Georgia
Alma mater University of North Carolina
Emory University School of Law
Occupation Lawyer
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy; United States Naval Reserve
Battles/wars World War II; Korean War

Benjamin Bentley Blackburn (born February 14, 1927) is a former U.S. Representative from Georgia, who served from 1967 to 1975.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Atlanta, Blackburn attended public school there and graduated in 1947 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and in 1954 from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta.

During World War II, Blackburn served in the United States Navy from 1944 to 1946 and again during the Korean War from 1950 to 1952. He was retired as a lieutenant commander in the United States Naval Reserve.

He served in the State attorney general's office from 1955 to 1957. He was admitted to the bar in 1954 and commenced private practice in Atlanta after service with the attorney general.

In 1966, Blackburn was elected as a Republican to the Ninetieth Congress, having narrowly defeated freshman incumbent James MacKay by 360 votes: 55,249 (50.2 percent) to 54,889 (49.8 percent).[1] In that same election fellow Republican Howard Callaway challenged the Democrat Lester Maddox, a strong segregationist from Atlanta, in the 1966 gubernatorial race. Though Callaway led Maddox by some three thousand votes, he did not have the required majority; under the Georgia Constitution, the state legislature broke the impasse by electing Maddox. Blackburn supported Callaway, who as a congressman had sought to curb the high costs of federal social programs.[2] Years later, Blackburn described Maddox as a "far better governor than his critics will ever admit." Then out of office himself, Blackburn noted that no claim of corruption arose against Maddox, whose administration was characterized by economic development and the appointment of African Americans to state executive positions.[3]

Blackburn was reelected to Congress in the three succeeding terms but was unsuccessful in a campaign for reelection in 1974. Democratic state Representative Elliott H. Levitas defeated him by a 55 to 45 percent margin. Most of the present territory in the district is now predominantly African-American and highly Democratic.

Blackburn served as president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation from 1976 until 1985. In 1982, he ran for governor of Georgia, but was defeated in the Republican primary by State Senator Bob Bell, 36,347 (59.2 percent) to 25,063 (40.8 percent).[4] Bell then lost in the general election to the Democrat Joe Frank Harris. Blackburn later served in the second Ronald W. Reagan administration as regional representative for the United States Department of Transportation.

Since 1952, Blackburn has been married to the former Mary A. Pandora. The couple has four children: Michael, Robert, Kathryn, and David.

He resides in Jasper in Pickens County in north Georgia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, p. 1277
  2. ^ Billy Hathorn, "the Frustration of Opportunity: Georgia Republicans and the Election of 1966", Atlanta History: A Journal of Georgia and the South, XXXI (Winter 1987-1988), p. 41
  3. ^ Atlanta History, p. 48
  4. ^ Congressional Quarterly's Guide, p. 1677
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James MacKay
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 4th congressional district

January 3, 1967 - January 3, 1975
Succeeded by
Elliott H. Levitas

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.