Gordon Persons

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Seth Gordon Persons
Gordon Persons.jpg
43rd Governor of Alabama
In office
January 15, 1951 – January 17, 1955
Lieutenant James Allen
Preceded by Jim Folsom
Succeeded by Jim Folsom
Personal details
Born (1902-02-05)February 5, 1902
Montgomery, Alabama
Died May 29, 1965(1965-05-29) (aged 63)
Montgomery, Alabama
Resting place Greenwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Alice Boyd McKeithen Persons (m. 1928-1965, his death)
Alma mater Auburn University

Seth Gordon Persons (February 5, 1902 – May 29, 1965) was an American Democratic politician who was the 43rd Governor of Alabama from 1951 to 1955. He was born and died in Montgomery, Alabama. The Dauphin Island Bridge south of Mobile is formally named for him.

Persons built a successful business running electrical lines in rural Alabama (benefiting from Rural Electrification Administration contracts); in addition to financial gain, he also won considerable popularity.

When running for office in 1950, Persons gained notoriety by touring the state in a helicopter (prompting one opponent to dub him "the man from Mars"). He won the Democratic nomination by defeating a crowded field that included former governor Chauncey Sparks. In office, his notable accomplishments included abolishing flogging in Alabama's prisons, advocating for the establishment of Alabama Public Television, and imposing speed limits on state highways. Persons largely accomplished his goal of having four years of "no fighting," maintaining a truce among the various wings of the state Democratic Party. At the end of his term, Persons ordered the National Guard into Phenix City following the assassination of Attorney-General-elect Albert Patterson.

After leaving office as governor, Persons never sought statewide public office again, although he did make an unsuccessful run for circuit judge late in life.

Persons was an alumnus of Auburn University, though he attended for only one year. While at Auburn, Persons served as president of a student organization (known as the "Boxcar Reds and Boxcar Blacks") that traveled to away football games.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Folsom
Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Jim Folsom