175 Makers of History: Alben W. Barkley

Alben W. Barkley 1900C 49H
Thirty-Fifth U.S. Vice President

Alben Barkley

The son of a poor Kentucky farmer, Alben W. Barkley (at left in photo) studied law at Emory with the class of 1900, but was unable to finish due to financial constraints. Nonetheless, he passed the Kentucky bar and in 1904 was elected the prosecuting attorney for his county.

He went on to serve in both houses of Congress until he resigned as Senate minority leader in 1949 to become vice president under Harry S. Truman. Barkley was a passionate advocate for the New Deal program and brokered key political compromises to see legislation passed. The speaking of the Vice President at Emory's Commencement of June 4, 1949 presented itself as Emory's first televised event.

The Emory Debate Forum renamed itself the Barkley Forum the following year.