Governor Homer Martin Adkins stands as a symbol of many Arkansans’ ambivalence about the growing power of the federal government in the mid-twentieth century and their resistance to attendant changes in the Democratic Party. Adkins’s clout as a factional leader during the 1930s derived from federal spending in the state, and his successes as governor had everything to do with the U.S. government’s massive investment in military facilities, defense production, and state bonds. But Adkins remained a self-described conservative, always ready to support states’ rights, such as when Democratic administrations in Washington DC and federal courts began to more actively support the civil rights of African Americans.
Historian Ben F. Johnson names Adkins, “the state’s most overtly racist governor in the modern era.”
Adkins once said: “If I cannot be nominated by the white voters of Arkansas, I do not want the office.”
Party affiliation: Democratic Party