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Landon Lecture Series on Public Issues

The Landon Lecture Series
Kansas State University
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Hubert H. Humphrey

Hubert H. Humphrey

Former U.S. vice president

Hubert H. Humphrey was born on May 27, 1911, in Wallace, South Dakota. He left South Dakota to attend the University of Minnesota but returned to South Dakota to help manage his father's drug store early in the depression. He attended the Capitol College of Pharmacy in Denver, Colorado, and became a registered pharmacist in 1933. On September 3, 1936, Humphrey married Muriel Fay Buck in Huron, South Dakota. He returned to the University of Minnesota and earned a B.A. degree in 1939. In 1940 he earned an M.A. in political science from Louisiana State University and returned to Minneapolis to teach and pursue further graduate study, but began working for the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration).

He moved on from there to a series of positions with wartime agencies. In 1943, he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Minneapolis and returned to teaching as a visiting professor at Macalester College in St. Paul. Between 1943 and 1945, Humphrey worked at a variety jobs, including teaching at Macalester, serving as a news commentator for radio station WTCN, and managing an apartment building. In 1945, he was elected Mayor of Minneapolis and served until 1948. In 1948, at the Democratic National Convention, he gained national attention when he delivered a stirring speech in favor of a strong civil rights plank in the party's platform. In November of 1948, voters in Minnesota elected Humphrey to the United States Senate. While in the Senate, he was known as a Senate liberal, working on issues of civil rights, social welfare, and fair employment. He served as the Senate Democratic Whip from 1961 to 1964.

In 1964, at the Democratic National Convention, President Lyndon B. Johnson asked the convention to select Humphrey as the Vice Presidential nominee. The ticket was elected in November in a Democratic landslide. In 1968, Humphrey was the Democratic Party's candidate for President, but he was defeated narrowly by Richard M. Nixon. After the defeat, Humphrey returned to Minnesota to teach at the University of Minnesota and Macalester College. He returned to the U.S. Senate in 1971, and he won re-election in 1976. He died January 13, 1978 of cancer. After Humphrey's death, the governor of Minnesota appointed Humphrey's wife, Muriel Buck Humphrey, to fill the vacant Senate seat. She served until November 7, 1978, and was not a candidate for the unexpired term.

Hubert H. Humphrey
Landon Lecture
Jan. 9, 1970

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