A Legislative Legacy

Russell's Lasting Legacy

“We are now confronted on the floor of the Senate with the vicious, iniquitous civil rights bill."

Editor’s Note: Russell had left behind a legislative career that lasted for over half a century. He would be remembered as an agrarian and an early proponent of the New Deal. He would also head numerous committees including one to investigate the firing of Douglas MacArthur as well as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Also noted in his career was his segregationist beliefs that he held fast to, when dealing with legislation. These were probably most notable in his co-authoring of the Declaration of Constitutional Principles, which is also known as the Southern Manifesto. The document was backed by the Southern Bloc, which were made up of southern states defending segregation. The manifesto was in protest to on-going debate over civil rights including desegregation. The final draft was written by Russell and contains statements such as, “It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races.” Many believe his involvement with this manifesto tainted his career. Richard B. Russell Jr. passed away as a life-long bachelor on January 21, 1971 in Washington D.C. leaving a behind a very large legislative-mark on both Georgia and the United States as a result of his over half-a-century service to them.