Lankford was born in Wilmington, Delaware, and attended private schools in Baltimore, Maryland, and Alexandria, Virginia. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1937, and his LL.B. degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 1940. He was employed as a lawyer in private practice, and engaged in active management of tobacco and cattle farms.
During World War II, Lankford served in the United States Naval Reserve from 1942 to 1946. After the war, he was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1948 to 1954, and was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for election to U.S. Congress in 1952.
He served on the Maryland Legislative Council in 1953, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention of 1956 before being elected to the U.S. Congress in 1954. He served from January 3, 1955 to January 3, 1965, but was not a candidate for renomination in 1964. He died in Easton, Maryland, aged 89.
See also 
- Richard Lankford at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved on 2008-01-26
|United States House of Representatives|
Frank Small, Jr.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 5th congressional district
|Representatives to the 84th–88th United States Congresses from Maryland (ordered by seniority)|
|84th||Senate: J. Butler | J. Beall||House: G. Fallon | E. Miller | E. Garmatz | J. Devereux | S. Friedel | D. Hyde | R. Lankford|
|85th||Senate: J. Butler | J. Beall||House: G. Fallon | E. Miller | E. Garmatz | J. Devereux | S. Friedel | D. Hyde | R. Lankford|
|86th||Senate: J. Butler | J. Beall||House: G. Fallon | E. Garmatz | S. Friedel| R. Lankford | D. Brewster | J. Foley | T. Johnson|
|87th||Senate: J. Butler | J. Beall||House: G. Fallon | E. Garmatz | S. Friedel| R. Lankford | D. Brewster | T. Johnson | C. Mathias|
|88th||Senate: J. Beall | D. Brewster||House: G. Fallon | E. Garmatz | S. Friedel| R. Lankford | C. Mathias | R. Morton | C. Long | C. Sickles|
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