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Roy V. Harris (1895-1985)

@ New Georgia Encyclopedia

Huff, Christopher Allen


Encyclopedia article about Roy Vincent Harris who was born on October 2, 1895, in Glascock County, Georgia to Elizabeth Allen and James Robert Harris. The family later moved to Wrens, in Jefferson County, where Harris attended high school. In 1917 he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia (UGA) and then joined the army, rising from the rank of private to first lieutenant in less than two years. Upon returning home he again enrolled at UGA and earned a law degree in 1919. In 1935 he married Mary Lewis of Augusta, and they had one son, Roy Jr. Harris spent more than fifty years in Georgia politics. From 1921 when he was first elected to the state legislature, he served almost continually in the General Assembly until 1946 and was Speaker of the House twice. He was called a "kingmaker" for his ability to place candidates he supported in the governor's mansion, and he played a prominent role in the gubernatorial victories of Ellis Arnall, Eugene Talmadge, Herman Talmadge, and Ernest Vandiver. Harris supported improving public education in Georgia throughout his adult life and maintained ties with UGA, working to raise standards and increase funding for that institution. In 1951 Governor Herman Talmadge appointed Harris to the Board of Regents, a position he held from 1951 to 1958 and again from 1960 to 1974. He also worked hard to oppose civil rights, using his position on the Board of Regents to fight college and university desegregation and to...
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Digital Library of Georgia