Charles L. Weltner
1927 – 1992
Who was Charles L. Weltner?
Weltner was born in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1948, he received a bachelor's degree from Oglethorpe University in suburban DeKalb County, Georgia. In 1950, he received a law degree from Columbia Law School in New York City. After serving two years in the United States Army, Weltner practiced law in Atlanta and served as an advocate for civil rights.
In 1962, Weltner was elected to represent Georgia's 5th congressional district in the House of Representatives as a Democrat. Once in office, he was the only member of the Georgia congressional delegation to vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also supported quick implementation of the United States Supreme Court decision to outlaw racial segregation in public schools, the 1954 decision Brown v. Board of Education. In 1966, Weltner refused to run for reelection when the state Democratic Party demanded that he sign a loyalty oath that would have required him to support Lester Maddox, an ardent segregationist who was running for governor against a Republican U.S. representative, Howard Callaway.
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