Thomas D'Alesandro Jr.

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Thomas D'Alesandro Jr.
Thomas D'Alesandro Jr.jpg
39th Mayor of Baltimore
In office
May 16, 1947 – May 16, 1959
Preceded by Theodore R. McKeldin
Succeeded by J. Harold Grady
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1939 – May 16, 1947
Preceded by Vincent L. Palmisano
Succeeded by Edward Garmatz
Member of the Baltimore City Council
In office
1935–1938
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
In office
1926-1933
Personal details
Born Thomas Ludwig John D'Alesandro Jr.
(1903-08-01)August 1, 1903
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died August 23, 1987(1987-08-23) (aged 84)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Nancy Lombardi
Children 6, including Nancy Pelosi
Profession Legislator, politician

Thomas Ludwig John D'Alesandro Jr. (August 1, 1903 – August 23, 1987) was an American politician who was a U.S. Representative from Maryland's 3rd congressional district (1939–47) and subsequently the mayor of Baltimore, Maryland (1947–59). He was the father of former House Speaker and current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Biography[edit]

D'Alesandro was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Maria Petronilla (née Foppiani) and Tommaso G. D'Alesandro, who were born in Montenerodomo, Abruzzo, South Italy. He was married to Annunciata M. ("Nancy") Lombardi.[1] The couple had six children: five sons and a daughter. D'Alesandro attended Calvert Business College in Baltimore. Before beginning his political career, he worked as a broker and in insurance, a career he returned to after his political service.[citation needed]

A Democrat, D'Alesandro served as a member of the Maryland State House of Delegates from 1926 to 1933. After serving in Annapolis, D'Alesandro was then appointed as General Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue, a post in which he served during 1933–1934. He then was elected to serve on the Baltimore City Council from 1935 to 1938.

D'Alesandro was then elected to the 76th Congress and to the four succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1939, until he resigned on May 16, 1947. While in Congress, D'Alesandro strongly supported the Bergson Group, a "political action committee set up to that challenged the Roosevelt Administration's policies on the Jewish refugee issue during the Holocaust, and later lobbied against British control of Palestine" despite his equally strong support for Roosevelt's other policies.[2]

Mayor of Baltimore[edit]

Following his service in Congress he was Mayor of Baltimore for 12 years from May 1947 to May 1959.[3]

Political campaigns[edit]

D'Alesandro was a strong contender for Governor of Maryland in 1954, but was forced to drop out due to being implicated in receiving undeclared money from Dominic Piracci, a parking garage owner convicted of fraud, conspiracy, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.[4] D'Alesandro was later exonerated and never indicted. It seems the association fallacy was either due to D'Alesandro's Italian heritage or his personal strength.[5] Rather than lose the election, D'Alesandro withdrew and tacitly supported University of Maryland President Curley Byrd who would go onto lose by 54.46% to 45.54% to the Republican incumbent and D'Alesandro's predecessor as Mayor of Baltimore Theodore McKeldin. McKeldin would later defeat the man who defeated D'Alesandro for mayor and then would be succeeded as mayor by D'Alesandro's son.

In 1958, D'Alesandro ran for the United States Senate in a bid to defeat Republican incumbent J. Glenn Beall who in 1952 defeated perennial candidate/contractor George P. Mahoney. D'Alesandro had to first spend money and time dispatching the fiery Mahoney in the Democratic primary. D'Alesandro then ran a strong and close, but eventually unsuccessful campaign, against Beall. This was the first time D'Alesandro ever lost an election.[3]

In 1959, D'Alesandro narrowly was defeated in a bid for another term for Mayor of Baltimore by J. Harold Grady.[6]

Neo-Confederate criticism[edit]

In 2017, neo-confederate and conservative commentators attempted to embarrass D'Alesandro's daughter, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, by pointing out in 1948, her father dedicated the Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee Monument along with the then-Governor of Maryland, William Preston Lane Jr. which D'Alesandro as Mayor of Baltimore did as a function of his office.[7] But there is no evidence D'Alesandro supported racial division or was ever a segregationist. His son, Thomas D'Alesandro III, who later served as Mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971, said about his father "His whole life was politics. He was not what you would call a flaming liberal, but he was a progressive."[3]

Legacy[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baltimore Sun, 1 October 1928, p. 20.
  2. ^ Medoff, Rafael, "Pelosi's father and the Holocaust."[permanent dead link] Jerusalem Post. 11 April 2007. 16 April 2007.
  3. ^ a b c Valentine, Paul W. (August 24, 1987). "BALTIMORE POLITICAL PATRIARCH THOMAS J. D'ALESANDRO JR. DIES". Retrieved December 18, 2017 – via www.WashingtonPost.com. 
  4. ^ "The Little World of Tommy" ,Time. 26 April 1954.
  5. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (August 24, 1987). "T. D'Alesandro Jr., a Baltimore Mayor, Dies". Retrieved December 18, 2017 – via NYTimes.com. 
  6. ^ "J. Harold Grady, mayor, chief judge, dies at 84". BaltimoreSun.com. Retrieved December 18, 2017. 
  7. ^ Singman, Brooke (August 24, 2017). "Nancy Pelosi's dad helped dedicate Confederate statue". The New York Post. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Vincent L. Palmisano
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 3rd congressional district

1939–1947
Succeeded by
Edward Garmatz
Political offices
Preceded by
Theodore R. McKeldin
Mayor of Baltimore
1947–1959
Succeeded by
J. Harold Grady
Party political offices
Preceded by
George P. Mahoney
Democratic nominee for United States Senator from Maryland
(Class 1)

1958
Succeeded by
Joseph Tydings