Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 074 George T. SmithReflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 074 George T. Smith

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 074 George T. Smith

Descriptive Summary

Title: Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 074 George T. Smith
Creator Smith, George T. (George Thornwell), 1916-2010.
Dates 2009 February 25
Extent 1.0 interview
Repository Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
AbstractGeorge T. Smith joined the U.S. Navy in 1940 and after two years was placed on the Naval Land Force Equipment Depot. He left the military in 1945 and returned home. In 1948, he graduated from the University of Georgia Law School and went into private practice in Cairo, Ga. In 1958, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. In 1963, he was appointed Speaker of the House. He successfully campaigned for lieutenant governor in 1966, but was defeated for reelection by Lester Maddox in 1970. Smith went into private practice in Marietta and made an unsuccessful run for governor in 1974. In 1976, he was elected to the Georgia Court of Appeals, and in 1980, he was elected Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Smith discusses his time serving in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the Georgia government, his race for lieutenant governor, and the Julian Bond case.

Administrative Information

Custodial History note

Reflections on Georgia Politics began in the fall of 2006 at Young Harris College, as a lecture and discussion program hosted by Georgia political veteran Bob Short. In late 2007, the Richard B. Russell Library began producing the program as an oral history video series to further illuminate and personalize the tectonic shifts that occurred in Georgia politics in the late twentieth century.

Preferred citation

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 074, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.


Restrictions

Copyright Information

Resources may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.


Biographical Note

George Thornewell Smith was born in Camilla, Mitchell County, Georgia on October 15, 1916. He attended Middle Georgia College and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. In 1940, he joined the U.S. Navy, and after two years was placed on the Naval Land Force Equipment Depot. He left the military in 1945 and returned home. In 1948, he graduated from the University of Georgia Law School and went into private practice in Cairo, Ga. He served as city attorney, county attorney, solicitor of the State Court, and attorney for the Grady County Board of Education. In 1958, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. In 1963, he was appointed Speaker of the House. He successfully campaigned for lieutenant governor in 1966, but was defeated for reelection by Lester Maddox in 1970. Smith went into private practice in Marietta and made an unsuccessful run for governor in 1974. In 1976, he was elected to the Georgia Court of Appeals, and in 1980, he was elected Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. He has also served on the Executive Committee of the Appellate Judges Conference.


Scope and Content

George T. Smith discusses his childhood in Mitchell, Georgia, where he walked three miles to school and he started working the farm. He recalls his return to education and enrolling in ABAC. Smith describes his time in the Navy, describing campaigns and expeditions. Smith recalls returning to America and attending law school at the University of Georgia.

Smith discusses practicing law in Cairo, Ga., and recalls being elected City Attorney, County Attorney, Solicitor of the State Court, representing the EMC and also the School Board attorney. Smith discusses his first term in legislature in 1959 and recalls being elected to several prestigious committees. He discusses Carl Sanders' gubernatorial campaign. Smith explains how he became Speaker of the House of Representatives and his subsequent decision to run for Lieutenant Governor. He explains why he chose to run for lieutenant governor instead of governor. Smith recalls what the abolition of the county unit system did for Georgia politics.

Smith explains the struggle to remain differentiated from George L. Smith and describes how they came to be known "George L." and "George T."

Smith recalls practicing law after an unsuccessful second campaign for lieutenant governor, running for the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1976, and later serving in the Supreme Court. He also discusses the effect of the internet on appellate courts and the relevence of the death penalty. Smith mentions some cases he tried in both the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.


Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection


Access Points

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
Bond, Julian, 1940-
Capital punishment
Elections--Georgia--History--20th century.
Georgia--General Assembly--House of Representatives.
Georgia. Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
Judges--Georgia.
Oral histories.
Political campaigns--Georgia.
Politicians--Georgia.
Sanders, Carl Edward, 1925-
United States--Navy.
University of Georgia. School of Law.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

 
ROGP 074 George T. Smith video ( 104.0 minutes ) VIEW ONLINE
 
ROGP 074 George T. Smith transcript VIEW ONLINE