In late 1946, the state of Georgia experienced a political phenomenon unlike anything before or since. Following the death of the governor-elect, the state had not one, not two, but three active governors simultaneously, each insisting on his right to the position. SPIA’s Dr. Charles S. Bullock III’s new book, “The Three Governors Controversy,” is the first full-length analysis of this unique incident. Co-authored by Scott E. Buchanan and Ronald Keith Gaddie, two of Bullock’s former students, the book delves into the complicated nature of the controversy as well as its important political implications.
“It ended a progressive movement that had controlled Georgia’s governorship for eight of the previous 10 years and retarded the involvement of African Americans in the state’s politics,” Bullock said.

The book focuses on this embarrassing and infamous time in Georgia’s history, as well as how and why it stalled progressive forces in the state as significantly as it did. Bullock, Buchanan and Gaddie also examine the details of the controversy in depth, including manufactured votes and suppression of black voters, issues that will certainly be relevant in 2016 with the discussion of voter identification laws.
Bullock said that while he does not think a similar situation could occur again, he thinks it is important as ever for citizens to learn about and understand southern political history.

“As per that statement on the U.S. Archives Building, those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.”