The States' Rights Democratic Party, usually known as the Dixiecrat Party, was a short-lived splinter group that broke from the Democratic Party in 1948. The Dixiecrats were a group of Southern Democrats who opposed racial integration and wanted to retain Jim Crow laws and racial segregation. The popular name of the party is a portmanteau originated from "Dixie", which is a term used to describe the South. Their slogan was "Segregation Forever!"
1948 presidential election
The party was formed after thirty-five delegates from Mississippi and Alabama walked out of the 1948 Democratic National Convention. Even before the convention started, the Southern delegates were upset by President Harry S. Truman's executive order to racially integrate the armed forces. The walkout was prompted by a controversial speech by Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota urging the party to adopt an anti-segregationist plank in the platform.
After President Truman's endorsement of the civil rights plank, Strom Thurmond, governor of South Carolina, helped organize the walkout delegates into a separate party, whose platform was ostensibly concerned with states' rights. The Dixiecrats held their convention in Birmingham, Alabama, where they nominated Thurmond for president and Fielding L. Wright, governor of Mississippi, for vice president. Dixiecrat leaders worked to have Thurmond-Wright declared the "official" Democratic Party ticket in Southern states. They succeeded only in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina; in other states, they were forced to run as a third-party ticket.
On election day 1948, the Thurmond-Wright ticket carried the previously solid Democratic states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina, receiving 1,169,021 popular votes and 39 electoral votes. The split in the Democratic party in the 1948 election was seen as virtually guaranteeing a victory by the Republican nominee, Thomas E. Dewey of New York, yet Truman won re-election in an upset.
The Dixiecrat Party largely dissolved after the 1948 election. Thurmond, and many other Dixiecrats, later joined the Republican Party. Nevertheless, the split in the Democratic party was permanent, eventually resulting in the loss of the South as a Democratic stronghold after 1956. In the 1960s, the courting of formerly Democratic white Southern voters was the basis of the "southern strategy" by Richard Nixon. Republican Barry Goldwater carried the Deep South in 1964, despite losing in a landslide in the rest of the nation to Lyndon Johnson of Texas. The only Democratic presidential candidate after 1956 to solidly carry the Deep South was Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election.
- John Steel Baston
- Robert Byrd, West Virginia Senator
- Hugh Roy Cullen, Texas Oil Millionare, power broker, and future Republican
- Frank M. Dixon, Former Alabama governor
- J. Oliver Emmerich, Speech writer
- Dr. Frazier
- Thomas Pryor Gore (attended one meeting)
- Francis Haskell
- Jesse Helms, North Carolina Senator
- Clark Hurd
- Mrs. Anna B. Korn
- Mrs. Ruth Lackey
- Benjamin Laney, Arkansas Governor
- Ross Lillard
- Gessner T. McCorvey, Alabama state Democratic Executive Committee Chairman
- William H Murray, Senator from Oklahoma and author of "The Negro's Place in Call of Race."
- O. L. Penny
- Leander Perez, Louisiana political "leader"
- Clifton Ratlift
- M. F. Ray
- Walter Sillers JR, Mississippi Speaker of the House
- Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Senator
- Thomas Jefferson Tubb
- Fielding Wright, Mississippi Governor
- Horace C. Wilkinson, Birmingham attorney defender of the Klan and political "leader"
- J.K. Wells
- Barney Wolverton
- Governor White
- Thomas P. Brady, Associate Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court
- Harvey T. Ross, Mississippi State Legislature
- 1948 Party Platform (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/showplatforms.php?platindex=SR1948)