On this day in Alabama history: ‘Cotton Tom’ Heflin was born

On this day in Alabama history: ‘Cotton Tom’ Heflin was born
A Congressional Delegation from the state of Alabama called on President Coolidge today, Jan. 15th, to urge the appointment of M.M. Caskie, of that state, to the Interstate Commerce Commission. Left to right, front row: Rep. E.B. Alman, Senator J. Thomas Heflin, Senator Oscar W. Underwood, Rep. W.B. Oliver and J. Lister Hill. Back row, Rep. M.C. Allgood, Rep. W.B. Bankhead, Rep. Lamar Jeffers, Rep. John McDuffle, and Rep. Henry Bascom Steagall, 1925. (Photograph by Harris and Ewing, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

April 9, 1869

James Thomas Heflin was born at Louina, in Randolph County. Alabama probably hasn’t had a more colorful or controversial U.S. senator than “Cotton Tom” Heflin, who is also known as the “Father of Mother’s Day,” having written and achieved passage of the national holiday. He is also known as one of that era’s most virulent supporters of white supremacy and the convict leasing system, and strongly opposed women’s right to vote. Heflin helped draft language in the 1901 constitution that in effect barred black Alabamians from voting. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1920-31. Heflin’s nephew, Howell Heflin, served as the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court as well as a U.S. senator.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

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

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