HENRY L. WHITFIELD, the forty-first governor of Mississippi, was born in Rankin County, Mississippi on June 20, 1868. His education was attained at Mississippi College, where he earned a teaching degree in 1895, and at Millsap College, where he studied law. Whitfield had a long and distinguished career in education. He taught school for several years and served as a school principal for nine years. He also served as state superintendent of education from 1898 to 1907, was the president of the Mississippi State College for Women from 1907 to 1920, and served as the superintendent of the B.B. Farm School from 1920 to 1923. Whitfield entered politics in 1923, winning the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He was elected governor by a popular vote on November 6, 1923, and was inaugurated into office on January 22, 1924. During his tenure, a gasoline tax was raised that was used for highway maintenance; a commission of education was created; the state deficit was eliminated; a sea wall bill was sanctioned; and an inheritance tax was endorsed. While in office, Whitfield became ill, and consequently passed away on March 18, 1927. He was buried in the Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, Mississippi.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.