Senator Harry F. Byrd Jr. and President Johnson

Reynolds, J. Sargeant (1936–1971) – Encyclopedia Virginia

Early Years

Julian Sargeant Reynolds was born in New York City on June 30, 1936. He was the son of Richard Samuel Reynolds Jr. and Virginia McDonald Reynolds, and the grandson of Richard Samuel Reynolds Sr., founding father of Reynolds Metals Company. Reynolds Metals specialised in creating aluminum foil that cigarette corporations used for packaging and in 1938 moved to Richmond to be nearer to the tobacco business. The Reynoldses adopted. In Virginia, Reynolds attended St. Christopher’s School in Richmond and accomplished secondary college at Woodberry Forest in Orange County. He spent three semesters at Princeton University earlier than transferring to the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce on the University of Pennsylvania. In 1956 Reynolds married Elizabeth Weir Veeneman, with whom he would have 4 youngsters. (They would divorce in 1969.) After graduating with a level in economics from the Wharton School in 1958, Reynolds joined the market analysis division of the household enterprise. He rapidly ascended the company ladder and was elected assistant treasurer of the corporate by 1961—about the identical time he started to domesticate his curiosity in politics. In 1965 he started instructing economics part-time on the University of Richmond. An avid student of the topic, he desired to enhance his talking abilities by instructing. But, as he revealed in a letter written whereas he was lieutenant governor, instructing had a deeper significance for him. Teaching had modified the course of his life at “a very difficult time,” he wrote. “In teaching I found a satisfaction and a happiness with young people that allowed me to go into politics, but more importantly into the real current of life.”

Political Career

Senator Harry F. Byrd Jr. and President Johnson

Reynolds grew to become extra politically concerned early within the Nineteen Sixties—a time of transition in Virginia, because the Byrd Organization, the conservative political machine that had dominated state politics since 1922, started its decline. In 1964 Reynolds was elected president of the Richmond chapter of the Young Democrats and chosen as state coordinator for the Young Citizens for Lyndon B. Johnson. His expertise campaigning for Johnson led him, in 1965 at age twenty- 9, to hunt a seat within the House of Delegates. A grasp political strategist, Reynolds wrote his personal speeches and ready the promoting copy for his marketing campaign. Running for considered one of eight “floater” seats representing Richmond and Henrico County, he completed second within the Democratic main and led the ticket within the basic election. In 1967, he gained an open seat representing Richmond within the Senate of Virginia.

Governor Doug Wilder's Inauguration

Reynolds noticed himself as a reasonable, though some thought of him a liberal due to the alliances he fashioned with the African American group. He constructed a relationship with the Richmond Crusade for Voters, a corporation that promoted black participation in Richmond politics, and particularly with one of many group’s three founders, Dr. William Ferguson Reid. Later, after being elected lieutenant governor, Reynolds would endorse Democrat L. Douglas Wilder‘s bid for his seat in the state senate, helping to launch a political career that culminated in Wilder’s election to the workplace of governor in 1989—the primary African American within the United States to be elected to that place.

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But Reynolds’s assist of and advocacy for the African American group didn’t estrange him from his political friends; slightly, Reynolds had the noteworthy potential to take liberal positions on sure points with out alienating reasonable and conservative Democrats. Though fiscally conservative, he was strongly dedicated to enhancing training and financial improvement. He supported the legislative program of Governor Mills E. Godwin Jr., together with a gross sales tax, which he noticed as indispensable to progress in training. He opposed, nonetheless, the applying of the tax to meals and nonprescription medicine, and criticized the distribution system, which he believed was unfair to the city areas of the state. Reynolds believed that the pay-as-you-go system of state finance, initially endorsed by Harry F. Byrd Sr., ought to be deserted in favor of the issuance of basic obligation bonds for greater training and psychological well being services. He strongly advocated the creation of a system of group schools, a brand new state college in Richmond, and elevated emphasis on growing the port of Hampton Roads.

Reynolds labored to strengthen the reasonable faction within the weakened Virginia Democratic Party. In 1968 he led a moderate-liberal coalition that changed the very conservative management of the Third Congressional District Democratic Committee. Because he had supported the Byrd Organization’s U.S. senator A. Willis Robertson within the 1966 Democratic main, Reynolds knew he had to enhance his standing with the reasonable faction led by Robertson’s victorious opponent, William B. Spong Jr. He completed this partly by supporting Virginia state senator William Hopkins’s candidacy for Democratic National Committee member in 1968, despite the fact that that meant abandoning the incumbent, Sidney Kellam, who had managed President Lyndon B. Johnson’s marketing campaign in Virginia and with whom Reynolds had developed a heat relationship.

Inauguration of Governor A. Linwood Holton Jr

In 1969 Reynolds emerged as a statewide political determine throughout his marketing campaign for lieutenant governor of Virginia. Handsome, articulate, and rich, with a self-deprecating humorousness, Reynolds reminded some observers of the late President John F. Kennedy. He gained the Democratic main by such a big margin over three opponents that no run-off was required, and he simply defeated his Republican opponent within the basic election. With a Republican, A. Linwood Holton, within the governor’s mansion, Reynolds was broadly considered the doubtless gubernatorial nominee of Virginia’s Democratic Party in 1973.

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In June 1970 Reynolds skilled the primary signs of great sickness. At a household reunion, he collapsed after feeling tremors. He suspected he might need a mind tumor, however a number of physicians assured him that was not the case. After collapsing at dwelling in August, he went to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, the place he was recognized with an inoperable mind tumor.

Final Months

After present process radiation therapies, Reynolds was capable of preside over the state senate in January 1971. That March, Reynolds visited Roanoke County‘s William Byrd High School and engaged in a vigorous give-and-take with an audience of students, many of whom would be eligible to vote in the next gubernatorial election. Melville Carrico of the Roanoke Times wrote that the visit left little doubt of Reynolds’s intention to run for governor in 1973.

On April 21, 1971, Reynolds was the principal speaker at an annual political gathering in Southside Virginia often known as the Wakefield Shad Planking. Sponsored by the Ruritan Club, the occasion was restricted to white males. Reynolds’s choice to attend upset some African American leaders, however his objective for doing so grew to become clear throughout his speech. Before an viewers that included staunch segregationists, Reynolds denounced Massive Resistance, the coverage Virginia had adopted in 1956 towards the desegregation of public colleges. He declared that the state should assure every little one, whatever the circumstances of his or her delivery, the training that may be most helpful to her or him. Referencing the day prior to this’s United States Supreme Court ruling in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, which upheld the busing of schoolchildren for the aim of desegregation, Reynolds declared, “It doesn’t matter whether we agree or disagree with that ruling. The point is that under our American system of government it stands until the Constitution is changed or the court reverses itself.” He pledged, “Virginia will not be propelled into massive resistance again.”

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After the speech Reynolds’s well being declined quickly. He returned to New York for added remedy, and when the General Assembly reconvened in May, he was unable to preside over the Senate. He contracted pneumonia and died on June 13, 1971, leaving Virginians to take a position on a promising political profession lower brief. Reynolds was given the primary state funeral since 1893, when Confederate president Jefferson Davis‘s stays had been reinterred in Richmond. He was survived by his second spouse, Mary Ballou Handy; their son, Richard Roland Reynolds; and his three youngsters by Elizabeth Weir Veeneman Reynolds. J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond is known as in his honor.

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