Today in Texas History – June 29

From the Annals of the Democrats –  In 1928 the Democratic National Convention concluded in at Sam Houston Hall in Houston.   Houston deal-maker and civic leader Jesse Jones was instrumental in bringing the convention to Houston and it was the first national convention held in a Southern state since the Civil War.  The intent was to sway the Protestant and Prohibitionist southern wing of the Democratic party to the Catholic, Anti-Prohibition candidate Al Smith. The Texas delegation led by Governor “Dry” Dan Moody wasn’t buying and displayed open hostility towards Smith’s nomination. Women’s temperance groups and Baptist ministers held round-the-clock prayer meetings  to invoke God’s intervention to prevent  Smith’s nomination.  The majority of delegates were not swayed and saw him as their only hope of victory over the Republicans in the fall.  The delegates gave Smith a resounding first ballot victory with no other candidate even close behind. Smith did not back down and his strong anti-prohibition acceptance speech  further alienated many Democrats.  In November, Texas went for Herbert Hoover – the first time a Republican presidential candidate carried Texas.  The massive defection of Texas Democrats to Hoover was attributed both to Smith’s antiprohibition views and his Catholicism.

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