Albertis Sydney Harrison, Jr. (1907 - 1995)

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About Albertis Sydney Harrison, Jr.,_Jr.

Albertis Sydney Harrison Jr. (January 11, 1907 – January 23, 1995) was an American politician and jurist. A Democrat associated with Virginia's Byrd Organization, he was the 59th Governor of Virginia 1962–66.

Early life, education

Harrison was born in Alberta, Virginia, the son of Albertis S. Harrison, Sr. and Lizzie, nee Goodrich. He was related to Benjamin Harrison V, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and to United States Presidents William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison. He received an LL.B degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1928.

Harrison married Lacey Virginia Barkley c.1940. They had two children.

Legal and political career

Harrison went into legal practice in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where he became town attorney, before being elected commonwealth's attorney of Brunswick County.

He was elected to the Senate of Virginia in 1947. He served there for ten years, before being elected Attorney General of Virginia in 1957.

Harrison resigned as Attorney General in April 1961 to run for Governor, winning election that November. His administration increased educational financing for new schools and laboratories and raised teachers' pay. He promoted the development of state-supported colleges and technical schools as well as improved vocational training. He helped to modernize state banking laws to attract investment and accelerated highway construction.

He sat on the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, later renamed the Supreme Court of Virginia, from 1968 to 1981. In 1968 he chaired the Commission on Constitutional Revision that drafted the 1971 Constitution of Virginia.

Massive Resistance

As Attorney General, Harrison was responsible for defending the state's resistance to school integration, as part of the Massive Resistance strategy endorsed and led by the state's political leader, United States Senator Harry F. Byrd. This culminated in the closing of public schools in Prince Edward County in 1959, with white students going to a private academy at state expense while black students were left to volunteer efforts.

In 1963, a Federal court ordered the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors to reopen the schools, a decision upheld by the United States Supreme Court. Governor Harrison advised compliance.

Death; legacy

Harrison died of a heart attack at his home in Lawrenceville on January 23, 1995.

The courthouse in Lawrenceville is named in his honor.

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Albertis S. Harrison, Jr., Governor's Timeline

Age 88