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This Day in Georgia History

June 11, 1967

E.D. Rivers Died

To view an image of E.D. Rivers, see the Georgia Archives

Politician Eurith Dickinson (“Ed”) Rivers died in Atlanta. Born in Center Point, Ark. on Dec. 1, 1895, Rivers attended Young Harris College and taught in public schools for a short time before entering politics. First elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1924, he served several terms there, including serving as Speaker from 1933-1936. In 1936 Rivers was elected governor, earlier defeating Eugene Talmadge in the Democratic primary. Rivers ran on a platform of support for and involvement in the New Deal, calling his programs Georgia’s “Little New Deal” [see article]. He lived up to his promise, and under his leadership Georgia invested heavily in New Deal Programs. While many state programs received additional funding, the growth in public health spending best exemplified Rivers’ allegiance to the New Deal; spending increased from $100,000 to one million dollars in his first term alone. But all the programs Rivers advocated cost money, not all of which could come from the federal government. In his second term Rivers encountered a legislature reluctant to raise taxes. His popularity was also damaged by a scandal involving several of his friends in the highway department, although Rivers himself was not involved. He held no further elective office after 1940, but his administration did institute many reforms and aided many Georgians through cooperation with the New Deal.