Jennings Randolph
Jennings Randolph was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician from West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

. He was a member of the Democratic Party and was the last surviving member of the United States Congress to have served during the first 100 days of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

's administration.

Early life and career

Randolph was born in Salem, West Virginia
Salem, West Virginia
Salem is a city in Harrison County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,006 at the 2000 census. It is located at the junction of U.S. Route 50 and West Virginia Route 23; the North Bend Rail Trail passes through the city...

 and was named after William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan was an American politician in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. He was a dominant force in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as its candidate for President of the United States...

. He was a descendent of colonist William Randolph
William Randolph
William Randolph was a colonist and land owner who played an important role in the history and government of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He moved to Virginia sometime between 1669 and 1673, and married Mary Isham a few years later...

. Both his grandfather and father had been mayors of Salem.

He attended the public schools, and graduated from the Salem Academy in 1920 and Salem College in 1922. He engaged in newspaper work in Clarksburg, West Virginia
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Clarksburg is a city in and the county seat of Harrison County, West Virginia, United States, in the north-central region of the state. It is the principal city of the Clarksburg, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area...

 in 1924. He was the associate editor of West Virginia Review at Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,400, and its metropolitan area 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.Early...

 in 1925; head of the department of public speaking and journalism at Davis and Elkins College at Elkins, West Virginia
Elkins, West Virginia
Elkins is a city in Randolph County, West Virginia, United States. The community was incorporated in 1890 and named in honor of Stephen Benton Elkins , a U.S. Senator from West Virginia. The population was 7,032 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Randolph County...

, 1926–1932; and a trustee of Salem College and Davis and Elkins College
Davis and Elkins College
Davis & Elkins College, also known as D&E, is a small residential liberal arts college located in Elkins, West Virginia, United States. The school was founded in 1904 and is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. It was named for Henry G. Davis and his son-in-law Stephen B. Elkins who were both...


He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1930 to the Seventy-second Congress, but was elected to the Seventy-third and to the six succeeding Congresses, serving from March 4, 1933, to January 3, 1947. While a congressman, he was chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the District of Columbia (Seventy-sixth through Seventy-ninth Congresses) and the U.S. House Committee on Civil Service (Seventy-ninth Congress).
Randolph was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection during the Republican landslide of 1946. He went on to become a professor of public speaking at Southeastern University in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, 1935–1953, and dean of School of Business Administration from 1952 to 1958; he was assistant to president and director of public relations, Capital Airlines (later purchased by United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

), Washington, D.C., February 1947-April 1958.

U.S. Senate

He was elected in a special election on November 4, 1958 to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy triggered by the death of Matthew M. Neely
Matthew M. Neely
Matthew Mansfield Neely was a Democratic politician from West Virginia. He is the only West Virginian to serve in both houses of the United States Congress and as the Governor of West Virginia...


Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Randolph was best known for sponsoring eleven times an amendment to the Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 that would grant citizens aged between 18 and 21 the right to vote. He first introduced the amendment in 1942, arguing that young soldiers fighting in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 should be able to vote. In 1970 amendments to the Voting Rights Act
Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S....

 lowered the voting age to 18 in both local and national elections. After a Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 decision, Oregon v. Mitchell
Oregon v. Mitchell
Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112 , was a case in the USA in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that states could set their own age limits for state elections....

, found that Congress only had the power to lower the voting age to 18 for national elections, and no power to lower it for state elections, Randolph was among the Senators who reintroduced the amendment. It was ratified by three-fourths of the states in 1971 as the Twenty-Sixth Amendment
Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution limited the minimum voting age to no more than 18. It was adopted in response to student activism against the Vietnam War and to partially overrule the Supreme Court's decision in Oregon v. Mitchell...

 less than 100 days after it was approved by Congress.

Equal Rights Amendment

On August 26, 1970, the fiftieth anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex. It was ratified on August 18, 1920....

 giving women the right to vote
History of women's suffrage in the United States
Woman suffrage in the United States was achieved gradually, at state and local levels, during the 19th Century and early 20th Century, culminating in 1920 with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provided: "The right of citizens of the United States to...

, Randolph attracted widespread media coverage for negative comments he made concerning the Women's Liberation Movement
Second-wave feminism
The Feminist Movement, or the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States refers to a period of feminist activity which began during the early 1960s and lasted through the early 1990s....

. Feminists had organized a nation-wide Women's Strike for Equality
Women's Strike for Equality
The Women’s Strike for Equality was a strike which took place in the United States on August 26, 1970. It celebrated the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, which effectively gave American women the right to vote. The rally was sponsored by the National Organization for...

 that day, and presented the sympathetic Senate leadership with a petition for the Equal Rights Amendment
Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time...

. Randolph derided the protesters as "braless bubbleheads" and that the equal rights activists claimed they did not speak for women, citing those more radical feminists that supported, as he put it, the "right to unabridged abortions". Randolph would later admit that his bubblehead comment was "perhaps ill-chosen" and went on to support the Equal Rights Amendment. When, in 1972 the amendment passed the Senate Randolph was a co-sponsor.

Randolph-Sheppard Act

While a member of the House of Representatives, Randolph was the main sponsor of the Randolph-Sheppard Act
Randolph-Sheppard Act
The Randolph-Sheppard Act, 20 U.S.C. § 107 et seq., is a federal law which mandates a priority to blind persons to operate vending facilities on Federal property.-History:...

, which was passed by Congress in 1936. This act, which is still in force, gives blind people
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 preference in federal contracts for food service stands on federal properties such as military bases, as well as some other jobs. Organizations for blind people such as the National Federation of the Blind
National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind is an organization of blind people in the United States. It is the oldest and largest organization led by blind people in the United States...

 cite this act as one of the first and most successful programs to give blind people secure jobs with less supervision and more independence than other previous programs such as sheltered workshops. This act became one of the first instances of affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...


Aeronautics Legislation

An aviation enthusiast, he often flew more than once a day to visit constituents in the West Virginia and to commute to Washington. He was the founder and first president of the Congressional Flying Club. He was a strong advocate for programs to advance air travel and airport development. In 1938 he sponsored the Civil Aeronautics Act, which transferred the federal civil aviation responsibilities from the Department of Commerce to a new independent agency, the Civil Aeronautics Authority. The legislation gave the CAA the power to regulate airline fares and to determine the routes that air carriers would serve. In subsequent years, Randolph co-authored the Federal Airport Act as well as legislation that created the Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol is a Congressionally chartered, federally supported, non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force . CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and...

, the National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and...

, and National Aviation Day
National Aviation Day
The National Aviation Day is a United States national observation that celebrates the development of aviation.The holiday was established in 1939 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who issued a presidential proclamation which designated the anniversary of Orville Wright's birthday to be National...

. During his tenure in the Senate, he sponsored the Airport-Airways Development Act that created the Airport Trust Fund. As a co-author of the Appalachian Regional Development Act, he included provisions for the development of rural airports.

Synthetic Liquid Fuels Act

In 1942 he proposed a Synthetic Liquid Fuels Act, which would fund the transformation of coal and its products into other useful forms of energy. To promote the viability of synthetic fuel
Synthetic fuel
Synthetic fuel or synfuel is a liquid fuel obtained from coal, natural gas, oil shale, or biomass. It may also refer to fuels derived from other solids such as plastics or rubber waste. It may also refer to gaseous fuels produced in a similar way...

s, November 1943 Randolph and a professional pilot flew in an aircraft powered by gasoline derived from coal. The small, single-engine airplane flew from Morgantown, West Virginia
Morgantown, West Virginia
Morgantown is a city in Monongalia County, West Virginia. It is the county seat of Monongalia County. Placed along the banks of the Monongahela River, Morgantown is the largest city in North-Central West Virginia, and the base of the Morgantown metropolitan area...

 to National Airport in Washington, DC. Aided by Interior Secretary Harold Ickes
Harold L. Ickes
Harold LeClair Ickes was a United States administrator and politician. He served as United States Secretary of the Interior for 13 years, from 1933 to 1946, the longest tenure of anyone to hold the office, and the second longest serving Cabinet member in U.S. history next to James Wilson. Ickes...

 and Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney
Joseph C. O'Mahoney
Joseph Christopher O'Mahoney was a Democratic United States Senator from Wyoming.O'Mahoney was born in Chelsea, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, November 5, 1884. He attended the parochial and public schools and Columbia University, New York City...

, the Synthetic Liquid Fuels Act was approved on 1944-04-05. The Act authorized $30 million for the construction and operation of demonstration plants
Bergius process
The Bergius Process is a method of production of liquid hydrocarbons for use as synthetic fuel by hydrogenation of high-volatile bituminous coal at high temperature and pressure...

 to produce synthetic liquid fuels.

Department of Peace

He introduced legislation to establish a Department of Peace in 1946 with the goal of strengthening America's capacity to resolve and manage international conflicts by both military and nonmilitary means. In the 1970s and 1980s he joined Senators Mark Hatfield
Mark Hatfield
Mark Odom Hatfield was an American politician and educator from the state of Oregon. A Republican, he served for 30 years as a United States Senator from Oregon, and also as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee...

 and Spark Matsunaga
Spark Matsunaga
Spark Masayuki Matsunaga was a United States Senator from Hawaii. He was an American Democrat whose legislation in the United States Senate led to the creation of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians.-Career:Matsunaga became a United States Army Reservist in 1941,...

 and Congressman Dan Glickman
Dan Glickman
Daniel Robert "Dan" Glickman is an American businessman and politician. He served as the United States Secretary of Agriculture from 1995 until 2001, prior to which he represented the Fourth Congressional District of Kansas as a Democrat in Congress for 18 years. He was Chairman and CEO of the...

 in efforts to create a national institution dedicated to peace. After he had announced his retirement from Congress in 1984, Randolph played a key role in the passage and enactment of the United States Institute of Peace
United States Institute of Peace
The United States Institute of Peace was created by Congress as a non-partisan, federal institution that works to prevent or end violent conflict around the world...

 Act. To guarantee its passage and funding, the legislation was attached to the Department of Defense Authorization Act of 1985. Approval of the legislation was in part a tribute to Randolph's long career in public service. The Jennings Randolph Program, which awards fellowships to enable outstanding scholars, policymakers, journalists, and other professionals from around the world to conduct research at the U.S. Institute of Peace, has been named in his honor.

Life outside of Congress

  • Randolph's early career is recounted in Napoleon Hill
    Napoleon Hill
    Napoleon Hill was an American author who was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal-success literature. He is widely considered to be one of the great writers on success...

    's classic self-help book, Think and Grow Rich
    Think and Grow Rich
    Think and Grow Rich is a motivational personal development and self-help book written by Napoleon Hill and inspired by a suggestion from Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie...

    . Hill gave the commencement address at Randolph's graduation from Salem State; Randolph was deeply moved and inspired by the address. Later, when Randolph was elected to Congress, he wrote to Hill, urging him to turn the speech into a printed book. The text of the letter appears in the book.
  • Randolph married Mary Katherine Babb on February 18, 1933. She died of cancer in 1981, and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University
    West Virginia University
    West Virginia University is a public research university in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA. Other campuses include: West Virginia University at Parkersburg in Parkersburg; West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery; Potomac State College of West Virginia University in Keyser;...

     is named for her. Randolph died in St. Louis, Missouri
    St. Louis, Missouri
    St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

     in 1998. He was interred at Seventh Day Baptist
    Seventh Day Baptist
    Seventh Day Baptists are Christian Baptists who observe Sabbath on the seventh-day of the week in accord with their understanding of the Biblical Sabbath for the Judeo-Christian tradition...

     Cemetery, Salem, West Virginia
    Salem, West Virginia
    Salem is a city in Harrison County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,006 at the 2000 census. It is located at the junction of U.S. Route 50 and West Virginia Route 23; the North Bend Rail Trail passes through the city...

  • Randolph's son, Jay Randolph
    Jay Randolph
    Jennings "Jay" Randolph, Jr. is an American sportscaster whose career has spanned more than fifty years.-Early life and career:...

    , is a longtime television sportscaster
    In sports broadcasting, a commentator gives a running commentary of a game or event in real time, usually during a live broadcast. The comments are normally a voiceover, with the sounds of the action and spectators also heard in the background. In the case of television commentary, the commentator...

     for NBC
    NBC Sports
    NBC Sports is the sports division of the NBC television network. Formerly "a service of NBC News," it broadcasts a diverse array of programs, including the Olympic Games, the NFL, the NHL, MLS, Notre Dame football, the PGA Tour, the Triple Crown, and the French Open, among others...

    , and KSDK
    KSDK, Channel 5, is the NBC-affiliated television station in St. Louis, Missouri. KSDK is owned and operated by Gannett Company, and the station's transmitter is located in Marlborough, Missouri. The station broadcasts a digital signal on UHF channel 35, using its former analog channel assignment...

     for Cardinals
    St. Louis Cardinals
    The St. Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won eleven World Series championships, the most of any National League team, and second overall only to...

    ' games in St. Louis.
  • His grandson, Jay Randolph Jr., is the lead anchor of the PGA Tour Network
    PGA Tour Network
    PGA Tour Network is Sirius XM Radio's Golf channel, located on XM channel 93. This channel covers news from the PGA Tour, the LPGA, Champions Tour, and Nationwide Tour...

     on XM Satellite Radio
    XM Satellite Radio
    XM Satellite Radio is one of two satellite radio services in the United States and Canada, operated by Sirius XM Radio. It provides pay-for-service radio, analogous to cable television. Its service includes 73 different music channels, 39 news, sports, talk and entertainment channels, 21 regional...

    , and hosts a sports talk show on St. Louis radio station KFNS.
  • Jennings Randolph Lake
    Jennings Randolph Lake
    Jennings Randolph Lake is a reservoir of located on the North Branch Potomac River in Garrett County, Maryland and Mineral County, West Virginia. It is approximately eight miles upstream of Bloomington, Maryland, and approximately five miles north of Elk Garden, West Virginia.-Construction and...

     is named in his honor. The Jennings Randolph Bridge
    Jennings Randolph Bridge
    The Jennings Randolph Bridge, built in 1977, is the largest Pratt truss bridge in North America, spanning 754 feet over the Ohio River between Chester, West Virginia and East Liverpool, Ohio. The bridge, which is located on U.S. Route 30, is named after West Virginian Democratic Senator Jennings...

     that carries U.S. Route 30 across the Ohio River between Chester, West Virginia, and East Liverpool, Ohio, is also named for him.
  • Randolph wrote a book along with James A. Bell
    James A. Bell
    James A. Bell is currently the Corporate President, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Boeing Company. He served as interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boeing on March, 2005, following the resignation of Harry Stonecipher...

     called "Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen... : A Practical Guide to Public Speaking," which was published in 1939.

External links

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