Bilbo, Theodore Gilmore

Bilbo, Theodore Gilmore,

1877–1947, U.S. senator (1935–47), b. near Poplarville, Pearl River co., Miss. After study at the Univ. of Nashville (1897–1900) and Vanderbilt Univ. law school (1905–7), he was admitted (1908) to the Tennessee bar. An ultraconservative Southern Democrat, he won political success by demagogic insistence on white supremacy. He was twice governor of Mississippi (1916–20, 1928–32) before his election to the U.S. Senate. He died while Congress was investigating charges that he had disqualified himself for the Senate by using intimidation to keep blacks from voting and by accepting bribes.


See biography by A. W. Green (1963).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Bilbo, Theodore Gilmore

(1877–1947) U.S. senator; born in Juniper Grove, Miss. He served as the Democratic governor of Mississippi (1916–20, 1928–32). Popular among the state's poor rural whites, he was a supporter of economic populism and white supremacy. He served in the U.S. Senate (1935–47), where he was a staunch supporter of the New Deal as well as an outspoken racist; he became notorious for his filibustering against legislation aiding African-Americans, instead calling for their deportation to Africa.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.