Folsom, James

Folsom, James (Elisha)

(1908–87) governor; born near Elba, Ala. After serving in the merchant marine, he directed the Alabama Relief Administration (1933–36), then formed the Emergency Aid and Insurance Company (1937–46). As Democratic governor of Alabama (1947–50, 1955–59), "Big Jim" was a racial moderate, who legally removed the Ku Klux Klan's hoods and met secretly with Martin Luther King Jr. to resolve the Montgomery bus boycott. He returned to his insurance business afterward.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.