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This Day in Georgia History

September 04, 1907

Marvin Griffin Born

To view an image of Marvin Griffin on campaign material, see the Georgia Archives

Newspaper publisher and future Georgia governor Marvin Griffin was born in Bainbridge, Georgia. In the early 1930s, he took over the family-run weekly Bainbridge newspaper, the Post-Searchlight. Griffin rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel during World War II, afterwards serving as Gov. Ellis Arnall’s adjutant-general (1944-47). In 1948, he was elected to the office of lieutenant governor, and reelected in 1950. In 1954, he ran for governor on a platform to preserve “Georgia’s two greatest traditions - segregation and the County Unit System.” During his administration, spending for education expanded greatly, new roads built, and Stone Mountain purchased by the state. But Griffin is perhaps best remembered for his 1956 campaign of “massive resistance” to integration after the two Brown v. Board of Education decisions. Legislation was enacted to close down Georgia’s public schools and institute state support of private schools if the federal government attempted to desegregate Georgia schools. Unable to succeed himself for a second term, Griffin ran again for governor 1962, though losing to Carl Sanders. Afterwards, Griffin announced that he was retiring from politics for reasons of health - “the voters were sick and tired of me.” He then returned to publishing his family newspaper until his death in 1982.