The first Alabaman to serve as Speaker of the House, William B. Bankhead was elected to the position in 1936. Known for his oratory skills and dedication to public service, he remarked in one of his last major speeches “The major objective of both parties must be unity and solidarity of purpose in preserving inviolate the structure of our government and the perpetual freedom of its people.” Bankhead died suddenly on September 15, 1940. His funeral service, attended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and other Washington notables, the last funeral held in the House Chamber.
History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, “William Brockman Bankhead,” https://history.house.gov/Collection/Listing/PA2011/PA2011-08-0064a/ (October 29, 2020)
Office of the Historian
Office of Art and Archives
Attic, Thomas Jefferson Building
Washington, D.C. 20515