On this day in Alabama history: James ‘Big Jim’ Folsom was born near Elba

On this day in Alabama history: James ‘Big Jim’ Folsom was born near Elba
James "Big Jim" Folsom was a popular governor, advocating social equality and political changes such as legislative reapportionment. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History)

October 9, 1908

Gov. James “Big Jim” Folsom was born near Elba. Known for his large stature and big personality, Folsom served as governor from 1947 to 1951 and from 1955 to 1959, becoming only the second person to hold the position for two full terms. A populist, he advocated for racial equality, women’s rights, legislative reapportionment and constitutional reform, but the state Legislature often blocked his proposals. Folsom unsuccessfully ran for governor again in 1962 and 1966, but corruption scandals and charges of personal excess led to his downfall. In 1993, Folsom’s oldest son, James E. Folsom Jr., became governor after the removal of Gov. Guy Hunt following his conviction on ethics charges.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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