GOVERNOR JIMMIE DAVIS



JAMES HOUSTON DAVIS WAS BORN ON SEPTEMBER 11, 1899 IN BEECH SPRINGS, LOUISIANA. HE GREW UP IN A TWO ROOM SHACK CALLED HOME BY HIS 10 SIBLINGS, HIS MOTHER & FATHER AND GRANDPARENTS. HIS FATHER HAD ONLY A 3RD GRADE EDUCATION BUT WAS DETERMINED HIS CHILDREN WOULD BE BETTER EDUCATED, INSTILLING A HUNGER FOR LEARNING IN ALL OF HIS CHILDREN. JIMMIE LEFT HOME TO STUDY AT LOUISIANA COLLEGE. HE SUPPLEMENTED THE MEAGER SAVINGS HE TOOK WITH HIM BY WASHING DISHES AND SINGING ON STREET CORNERS, EVENTUALLY RECEIVING A BACCALAUREATE DEGREE, THEN LATER TO L S U RECEIVING HIS MASTER'S DEGREE, AND FOR A WHILE, HE SERVED AS PROFESSOR AT DODD COLLEGE IN SHREVEPORT. NORTHEAST LOUISIANA SEEMED TO BE A SPAWNING GROUND FOR LOUISIANA'S POLITICAL LEADERS PROVIDING THE STATE WITH NO LESS THAN FIVE GOVERNORS, COUNTLESS SENATORS AND MANY OTHER POLITICAL LEADERS. DETERMINED TO FOLLOW SUIT, JIMMIE PRACTICALLY LAUNCHED TWO CAREERS AT ONE TIME, TAKING A JOB AS CLERK IN SHREVEPORT'S CRIMINAL COURT, THE FOLLOWING YEAR, HE RECORDED FOR RCA VICTOR, AND LIKE ERNEST TUBB AND OTHERS OF THAT ERA, HIS FOUR YEARS ON VICTOR WERE IMITATIONS OF AMERICA'S BIGGEST STAR AND RECORDING ARTIST, JIMMIE RODGERS. LATER AT DECCA RECORDS, HIS FIRST HIT RECORDING IN 1935, "NOBODY'S DARLIN' BUT MINE" PRODUCED ENOUGH ROYALTIES TO ALLOW HIM TO SETTLE HIS COLLEGE DEBTS, BUY A FARM AND GET MARRIED. WITH ROYALTIES AND NEWFOUND CELEBRITY STATUS FROM HIS NEXT BIG HIT IN 1936, "IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE NOW", JIMMIE WAS ABLE TO ADVANCE HIS POLITICAL CAREER AGAIN CAMPAIGNING WITH HIS BAND IN 1938, HE WAS ELECTED SHREVEPORT'S COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC SAFETY. TWO YEARS LATER IN CHICAGO ON MAY 4, 1940, JIMMIE DAVIS WROTE & RECORDED THE SONG THAT BECAME HIS CALLING CARD. RELEASED A MONTH LATER, "YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE" ALMOST IMMEDIATELY SOLD OVER ONE MILLION COPIES IN AMERICA. THE RECORD LATER CROSSED THE ATLANTIC TO ENGLAND WHERE KING GEORGE VI DECLARED IT HIS FAVORITE SONG. COVERED BY BING CROSBY AND GENE AUTRY, THE SONG HAS BEEN RECORDED BY OVER 350 ARTISTS, AND TRANSLATED INTO 30 LANGUAGES INCLUDING RUSSIAN AND JAPANESE. DURING THE 40'S JIMMIE MADE NUMEROUS MOVIE APPEARANCES, YET 1944 MADE ONE OF HIS BIGGEST YEARS YET, NOT ONLY STARRING IN THE FEATURE FILM, "LOUISIANA" BUT LATER THAT YEAR, HE WAS ELECTED AS GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA. JIMMIE WAS A "CONSERVATIONIST" AND "ENVIRONMENTALIST" WHEN HE TOOK ACTION TO REVIVE THE STATES TIMBER INDUSTRY BY PASSING THE FORESTRY ACT, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, LOUISIANA GROWS MORE TIMBER TODAY THAN IT CAN CUT. WHEN HE LEFT OFFICE IN 1948, THERE WAS A MONEY SURPLUS USED BY FUTURE ADMINISTRATIONS TO FUND OLD AGE PENSIONS ALL DONE WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. DURING THE 50'S JIMMIE RETURNED TO HIS ROOTS IN GOSPEL MUSIC, WRITING AND RECORDING HUNDREDS OF SONGS MANY THAT HAVE BECOME "STANDARDS" TODAY. JIMMIE, ALONG WITH HANK WILLIAMS, IS CREDITED WITH INTRODUCING CAJUN MUSIC TO THE COUNTRY MUSIC INDUSTRY. IN 1960, HE WAS ELECTED AGAIN AS GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA, SOLVING MANY OF THE STATE'S FINANCIAL PROBLEMS BY PROPOSING TO THE LEGISLATURE A BUDGET LOWER THAN PREVIOUS YEARS WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE OR SINCE. HE SOLVED PROBLEMS OF DESEGREGATION WITHOUT PREJUDICE OR VIOLENCE THAT HE PROMISED IN HIS INAUGURAL ADDRESS, AND HIS SECOND TERM AS GOVERNOR ENDED WITHOUT ANY RAISE OF TAXES. THE JIMMIE DAVIS STORY HAS CONTINUED NOW FOR A CENTURY WITH HIS CONTINUED APPEARANCES AS WELL AS WRITING AND RECORDING. HIS LOVELY AND BEAUTIFUL WIFE, ANNA IS THE SOLE SURVIVOR OF THE ORIGINAL CHUCK WAGON GANG AND IS AN INSPIRATION FOR HIS CAREER AND LONGEVITY. HE IS A MEMBER OF THE SONGWRITER'S HALL OF FAME, THE GOSPEL MUSIC HALL OF FAME AND IN 1972, HE WAS INDUCTED INTO THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME. HE IS AN ERNEST TUBB HUMANITARIAN AWARD HONOREE GIVEN ON HIS 95TH BIRTHDAY IN 1994. THE JIMMIE DAVIS STORY IS MORE THAN THE STORY OF ONE MAN, MORE THAN A STORY OF TRIUMPH OVER ALL THE ODDS. IT'S THE STORY OF FAITH IN A NATION AND BELIEF IN GOD AND WHAT HAPPENED TO ONE MAN WHO POSSESSED BOTH IN ABUNDANCE. CHANCES ARE YOU WON'T GO FROM A SHOTGUN SHACK TO THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION OF YOUR STATE TWICE. CHANCES ARE YOU WON'T BECOME A WORLD RENOWNED ARTIST AND COMPOSER OF PERHAPS THE MOST POPULAR SONG EVER WRITTEN, BUT CHANCES ARE , IF YOU BELIEVE AND HAVE FAITH, IF YOU'LL WORK WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND MIGHT, LOVE YOUR FELLOW MAN, NO MAN, NO THING, NO SYSTEM, NO MINUS SIGN WILL EVER STOP YOU. TROUBLES MAY DELAY YOU BUT YOU WON'T BE STOPPED. YOU'LL HAVE THE SECRET INGREDIENT TO WHICH JIMMIE DAVIS ATTRIBUTES MOST OF HIS AMAZING SUCCESS. YOU'LL HAVE A PIECE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM. JIMMIE DAVIS SAYS "I'VE WINED AND DINED WITH THE SWANKIEST OF THE SWANK AND BROKEN BREAD WITH THE POOREST OF THE POOR, BUT COME WHAT MAY, THEY CAN'T RATION ANYTHING I HAVEN'T DONE WITHOUT." ON BEHALF OF ALL OF US AT ERNEST TUBB RECORD SHOPS AND TEXAS TROUBADOUR THEATRE, WE SALUTE AN EXTRAORDINARY AMERICAN LEGEND, JIMMIE DAVIS ON THIS HIS 100TH BIRTHDAY. CONGRATULATIONS GOVERNOR, WE LOVE YOU AND SAY "THANKS" FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE AND FOR BEING THE "SUNSHINE" IN LITERALLY MILLIONS OF LIVES THE WORLD OVER !

David McCormick


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