Frank W. Boykin
From 1953's Pocket Congressional Directory of the 83rd Congress.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Alabama's 1st district
July 30, 1935 - January 3, 1963
|Born||February 21, 1885|
Bladon Springs, Alabama
|Died||March 12, 1969 (aged 84)|
Born in Bladon Springs, Alabama, Boykin had little formal education, but through hard work and perseverance, became a successful businessman with interests in lumber and turpentine. During World War I, he was an executive with several shipbuilding companies. He was one of the more prominent defendants in Mobile's whiskey trials of 1924 and 1925.
In 1935, he was elected to Congress from the Mobile-based 1st District following Congressman John McDuffie's appointment to a federal judgeship. Since he hadn't voted in any election since the 1920s, he had to pay 14 years' worth of back poll taxes to be able to cast a vote for himself. He won the seat again in 1936 and was reelected an impressive 12 more times. He was chairman of the House Patents Committee from 1943 to 1947. He ran in a special election for the United States Senate in 1946, but finished a distant third.
Boykin was considered a congressman whose mission was to take care of his district's citizens. Although his seniority allowed him to steer millions of federal dollars to his district, he was known for missing roll call votes more often than any other member of the state's congressional delegation.
Boykin supported racial segregation, though he had a reputation for helping black constituents even if they couldn't vote. He had a particularly warm relationship with Alex Herman, the father of Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor, Alexis Herman. For example, he encouraged Herman to deliver black votes in the Mobile area to Senator Lister Hill during Hill's contentious 1962 election. It is believed that Hill's 6,000-vote margin of victory in that election was due mostly to heavy black turnout in Mobile.
Having been a signatory to the 1956 Southern Manifesto that opposed the desegregation of public schools ordered by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, in 1957 Boykin voted against the Civil Rights Act. He lost his seat when Alabama's congressional delegation was cut from nine to eight members after the 1960 United States Census. The state legislature couldn't agree on which district to eliminate, so all nine incumbents ran against each other in an unusual statewide election. The last-place finisher would be dropped, while the eight survivors would become at-large congressmen. Boykin finished last, trailing the eighth-place finisher, Kenneth A. Roberts of the 4th District, by 100,000 votes.
Boykin was convicted of conspiracy and conflict of interest in July 1963, on charges of conspiracy and conflict-of-interest by using his congressional influence to gain dismissal of mail fraud charges against J. Kenneth Edlin. He served six months' probation and fined. He later received full pardon by President Johnson in 1965, at the request of departing Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
Boykin was married to Ocllo Gunn Boykin for almost 56 years. He frequently cheated on her and bragged openly about it in the House cloakroom. According to his son, Ocllo knew all along about her husband's numerous infidelities.