The LuLac Edition #1612, May 27th, 2011
HUMPHREY AT 100
Hubert Humphrey would have been 100 years old today. Earlier this year the centennial of Ronald Reagan’s birth was marked and we of course told you about that. I don’t know how many people are going to be marking this date but as a long time Humphrey supporter and admirer, it was something we had to do.
Humphrey visited our area numerous times in his quest for the Presidency. At the age of 14 I helped the ILGWU and UAW as a volunteer passing out literature in that crucial 1968 campaign. Both offices were down the street from St. John’s so it was a no brainer for me. In 1972 I met him at the annual Friendly sons of St. Patrick Dinner in Pittston. I later wound up as a youth coordinator for Luzerne County. Even though HHH’’s running mate Ed Muskie carried Luzerne County with the support of the Democratic machine, Humphrey won his very first Presidential primary of his career in Pennsylvania.
While his career and his memory is long forgotten by many, it is important to know that Humphrey’s name is on every significant piece of legislation that is involved in helping people in this country. Humphrey moral manta is now virtually ignored by the people currently in power, some by design others because of the ineffectual approach to government. We would do well to remember it once in a while:
"The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
Hubert H. Humphrey was born on May 27, 1911, in Wallace, South Dakota. He left South Dakota to attend the University of Minnesota but returned to South Dakota to help manage his father's drug store early in the depression. He attended the Capitol College of Pharmacy in Denver, Colorado, and became a registered pharmacist in 1933. On September 3, 1936, Humphrey married Muriel Fay Buck in Huron, South Dakota. He returned to the University of Minnesota and earned a B.A. degree in 1939. In 1940 he earned an M.A. in political science from Louisiana State University and returned to Minneapolis to teach and pursue further graduate study, but began working for the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration).
He moved on from there to a series of positions with wartime agencies. In 1943, he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Minneapolis and returned to teaching as a visiting professor at Macalester College in St. Paul. Between 1943 and 1945, Humphrey worked at a variety jobs, including teaching at Macalester, serving as a news commentator for radio station WTCN, and managing an apartment building. In 1945, he was elected Mayor of Minneapolis and served until 1948. In 1948, at the Democratic National Convention, he gained national attention when he delivered a stirring speech in favor of a strong civil rights plank in the party's platform. In November of 1948, voters in Minnesota elected Humphrey to the United States Senate. While in the Senate, he was known as a Senate liberal, working on issues of civil rights, social welfare, and fair employment. He served as the Senate Democratic Whip from 1961 to 1964.
In 1964, at the Democratic National Convention, President Lyndon B. Johnson asked the convention to select Humphrey as the Vice Presidential nominee. The ticket was elected in November in a Democratic landslide. In 1968, Humphrey was the Democratic Party's candidate for President, but he was defeated narrowly by Richard M. Nixon. After the defeat, Humphrey returned to Minnesota to teach at the University of Minnesota and Macalester College. He returned to the U.S. Senate in 1971, and he won re-election in 1976. He died January 13, 1978 of cancer. After Humphrey's death, the governor of Minnesota appointed Humphrey's wife, Muriel Buck Humphrey, to fill the vacant Senate seat. She served until November 7, 1978, and was not a candidate for the unexpired term. Hubert Humphrey's papers are located at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.