Cecil's Top Matches
About Cecil Farris Bryant
Cecil Farris Bryant (July 26, 1914 – March 1, 2002) was the 34th Governor of Florida. He also served on the United States National Security Council and in the Office of Emergency Planning during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Born in Marion County, Florida, he graduated from Ocala High School before attending Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia from 1931 to 1932. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida with a business degree, where he was a member of Florida Blue Key. He continued his education at Harvard University, where he earned a law degree in 1938. After completing his education, he went to work in the office of the state Comptroller, where he met his future wife, Julia Burnett.
In 1942, he ran for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives and won. He resigned the seat to join the armed services during World War II, and served in the United States Navy as a gunnery and antisubmarine officer in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific. In 1946, he was again elected to his seat, and served five consecutive terms until 1956, serving as speaker in 1953. His uncle was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Ion Farris
In 1960, he was elected governor and took the oath of office on January 3, 1961. Bryant was a segregationist like most other Florida politicians at the time (with the notable exception of his predecessor Governor T. LeRoy Collins). His administration continued the focus on education of his predecessor. He helped in obtaining funds for twenty-eight junior colleges and additional state universities. He worked to get interstate and state highways built in Florida. He also worked to purchase public lands for future use by the state, saying that it was important to do it now, "before the need arose – or before it became critical." He was also a major proponent of the Cross Florida Barge Canal. Governor Bryant, as his predecessor and successor alike, opposed the death penalty, but some executions (including last pre-Furman) took place during his administration, as the Florida governor had a very limited power to commute sentences. He left office on January 5, 1965.
After his term, he was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to serve on the United States National Security Council and in the White House Office of Emergency Planning. In 1970 he ran for the U.S. Senate, but was defeated in the Democratic primary runoff by relatively little known state senator Lawton Chiles, who went on to win the U.S. Senate seat (served 1971-1989), and later himself became Governor (1991–1998). Upon his defeat, Bryant returned to the practice of law in Jacksonville, Florida, where he lived until his death in 2002. In 1972, Bryant joined John B. Connally of Texas in the "Democrats for Nixon" organization and helped to secure Florida for the Republican presidential ticket that year.
In 2000, Farris Bryant created the "Farris and Julia Bryant Florida History Preservation Fund Endowment" for the University of Florida Libraries to preserve Florida history and culture. Collections digitally and physically preserved include the Papers of C. Farris Bryant and the Florida History and Heritage Collections".