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This Day in Georgia History

June 25, 1921

Thomas Hardwick Inaugurated

To view an image of the Governor Thomas Hardwick historical marker, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Lawyer and politician Thomas Hardwick was inaugurated as governor of Georgia. Despite his earlier leadership in Georgia’s black disfranchisement movement, Hardwick had a surprisingly progressive administration. He denounced the newly resurrected Ku Klux Klan, became an advocate of prison reform, ended the flogging of prisoners, helped achieve Georgia’s first gasoline tax to help build roads, and pushed for a graduated state income tax (not adopted until 1931). Perhaps his most remembered achievement as governor came in 1922 when after the death of U.S. Senator Tom Watson, Hardwick appointed Rebecca Latimer Felton to fill Watson’s seat, making making the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. After his term as governor, Hardwick ran unsuccessfully in 1924 and again in 1932, before retiring to his law practice.[See January 31 entry for more biographical information on Hardwick.