SETH GORDON PERSONS was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 5, 1902. He attended Starke University School in Montgomery, and from 1921 to 1922, studied electrical engineering at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University). Persons had an extensive career in radio broadcasting, which included being owner of the Southern Radio Service from 1928 to 1930, president of the Montgomery Broadcasting Company Radio Station WSFA from 1930 to 1939, and a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Broadcasters, serving from 1935 to 1939. He also was the chief radio consultant of the Office of War Information from 1941 to 1943, and he was elected to the Alabama Public Service Commission, serving four years. Persons was elected Alabama’s 46th governor on November 7, 1950, and was sworn into office on January 15, 1951. During his term, the Educational Television Commission was created, funding was increased for roads and education, and laws were enacted that reformed the pardon-parole and welfare systems. In 1954, the Supreme Court rendered its decision in the Brown vs. Board of Education, that outlawed segregation in public schools. During his tenure, too, laws were passed against the unionization of state employees, and a bill that established new voting qualifications aimed at disenfranchising blacks. He left office on January 17, 1955, and returned to private life in Montgomery. Persons died from a stroke on May 29, 1965, and is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery, Montgomery, Alabama.
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.