Albert, Carl (Bert)(1908– ) U.S. representative; born in North McAlester, Okla. Born in a miner's shack, he picked cotton before going to the University of Oklahoma, where he became a champion debater and wrestler who won a Rhodes scholarship to study law at Oxford University. A lawyer in Oklahoma, he worked for the Federal Housing Authority and the Ohio Oil Company before joining the army in 1941. Returning from the Pacific with a Bronze star, he went to the U.S. House of Representatives (Dem., Okla.; 1947–77) where he became majority whip in 1955 and majority leader in 1962. He created an alliance between northern liberals and southern "boll weevils" to insure passage of President Johnson's Great Society legislation. In 1968, he presided over the disastrous Democratic convention, ruling against the delegates opposed to the war in Vietnam. Succeeding John McCormack as Speaker in 1971, he finally voted against the war in 1973. Faced with Democratic opposition and widespread rumors about his drinking, he retired to McAlester in 1977.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.