Frank Porter Graham

View Map map

Frank Porter Graham, the president of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during Sanford’s years there, was one of Terry’s closest lifelong friends and political allies. Every Sunday, Graham would invite students to the president’s office and Terry attended regularly. At these meetings they built up a strong relationship and Graham helped to shape Sanford’s views on issues such as sharecropping, women’s rights, textile workers, and civil rights.

In 1949, Graham was appointed to the US Senate by Governor Kerr Scott when the incumbent, Joseph Broughton, died in office. While running for the seat in 1950, Graham hired Sanford as his campaign manager. Graham’s campaign was defeated by the segregationist Willis Smith in the Democratic primary. The racially-charged rhetoric and campaign ads used against Graham during the campaign would prepare Sanford for the 1954 Kerr Scott Senate campaign (which he also managed) and his own gubernatorial campaign in 1960.

After Sanford won the governorship, many of his supporters claimed that Graham’s defeat had contributed to Sanford’s victory, because Sanford decided not to focus on the issue of race. In response, Graham wrote to Sanford, “I am deeply glad that such a defeat could be even a small bit of your more enduring and greater victory.” Of course, their friendship would last throughout the rest of Graham’s life. When Sanford went to pay the filing fee for his gubernatorial campaign, he wore a Frank Porter Graham 1950 campaign button underneath his lapel in honor of his ally, mentor, and friend.

arrow_back Previous arrow_forward Next