Huey Long: America’s most famous Public Service Commissioner

Huey Long, the “Kingfish” of Louisiana in the 1920s and 1930s was a skilled and shameless politician who had a plan to win the presidency of the United States, if he hadn’t been gunned down by an assassin in 1936 (or his own bodyguards, depending on who’s telling the story). He’s a fascinating character. The definitive biography of Huey Long was written by T. Harry Williams. An excellent read, but no longer in print, but if you’re a student of Southern history and ever see a copy, snatch it up. I won’t try to tell his story here, but let’s just say he was equal parts corrupt and brilliant, financing his campaigns through deductions from state employees’ paychecks. It’s said that he’d…

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Finishing my father’s life’s work: It’s not just a job, it’s an indenture

Original Caption: Grant says his father’s book is inextricably linked to other facets of his life. He was scouring page proofs of The Way It Was in the South when his wife went into labor with their second child—son Nathan (shown above). This is the story behind a Georgia Book of the Year. Ah, yes, I remember it well. I was sitting in the delivery room marking up page proofs when Judy’s situation suddenly required my complete attention. I tell people that while Nathan may look young (he’s a college freshman now), he was born during World War I. Dad would like that. The Way It Was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia was honored as an Editor’s Choice by American Heritage magazine and named…

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