On this day in Alabama history: Gov. Jelks returned after treatment

On this day in Alabama history: Gov. Jelks returned after treatment
William Dorsey Jelks (1855-1931) was Alabama's governor from 1901-07. A newspaper man in Eufaula who became a state senator, he was an ardent supporter of white supremacy and Alabama's 1901 Constitution, which disenfranchised African Americans and poor whites in the state. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History)

March 5, 1905

Gov. William Jelks returned to office after a period of tuberculosis treatment in New Mexico. The owner of the Eufaula Times and News, Jelks used his newspaper to build a broad political base and won election to the state Senate in 1898. In the Sqenate, he served as an outspoken advocate of white supremacy and a proponent of a constitutional convention aimed at disenfranchising poor whites and black voters, which he personally authorized after temporarily assuming the governorship in 1900. As governor from 1901 to 1907, Jelks used the position to support the 1901 Constitution, to restructure the state’s convict-lease system and to bolster the state’s treasury through a series of bond issues.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

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

 

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