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Samuel Marvin Griffin

Gov. Samuel Marvin Griffin

  • January 11, 1955 - January 13, 1959
  • Democratic
  • September 4, 1907
  • June 13, 1982
  • Georgia
  • Citadel
  • Married twice--Mary Elizabeth Smith, Laura Jane Gibson; two children
  • Army
  • George Wallace's vice presidential running mate in 1963


SAMUEL MARVIN GRIFFIN, Georgia’s 62nd governor, was born in Bainbridge, Georgia, on September 4, 1907. In 1929, he graduated from the Citadel, and from 1929 to 1933, he was commandant of cadets at the Randolph-Macon Academy in Virginia. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army, and was adjutant general of Georgia from 1944 to 1947. Before entering politics, he was editor of the Bainbridge Post-Searchlight. In 1934 he served as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, a position he held until 1936, and he served as a delegate to the 1940 Democratic National Convention. He also was executive secretary to Governor Rivers in 1940, and served as lieutenant governor of Georgia from 1948 to 1955. Griffin won the 1954 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected Governor of Georgia. During his tenure, he endorsed segregation and advocated saving the county unit system. Financial support was secured and it was used to build an atomic reactor at Georgia Tech and for a new science center at the University of Georgia. The state initiated educational television programming for schools, additional classrooms were added to the public school system, and 3,000 new teachers were hired. Road construction was advanced; the capitol was remodeled; Stone Mountain was purchased; 27 new public health centers were established; and medical, elderly, vocational rehabilitation, and child services were all improved. Despite all of the advancements during Griffin’s tenure, his term was tainted by allegations of fraud and corruption in the Highway and Purchasing Departments. After leaving office, Griffin returned to his newspaper business in Bainbridge. He ran unsuccessfully for the governor’s office in 1962, and he was the 1963 vice presidential running mate of George Wallace. Governor Samuel M. Griffin died on June 13, 1982, and he was buried at the Oak City Cemetery in Bainbridge.



Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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