James MacKay (American politician)
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James Armstrong MacKay (June 25, 1919 – July 2, 2004) was a U.S. Representative and lawyer from Georgia. MacKay was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-ninth Congress. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Ninetieth Congress in 1966. He died on July 2, 2004, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Georgia's 4th district
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967
|Preceded by||John J. Flynt, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Benjamin B. Blackburn|
James Armstrong Mackay
June 25, 1919
Fairfield, Alabama, United States
|Died||July 2, 2004 (aged 85)|
Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
|Alma mater||Emory University|
Early life and educationEdit
McKay was born in Fairfield, Jefferson County, Alabama on June 25, 1919.
He graduated with an A.B. degree from Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., in 1940, where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order. Mackay attended Duke University from 1940 to 1941. After active duty, he then returned to Emory where he was president of the student body and received an LL.B. in 1947.
During World War II, he served as a Coast Guard Reserve officer on the USS Menges, a destroyer escort in the Mediterranean, in 1944, and earned a Bronze Star Medal for rescuing men when his ship was torpedoed.
Service in U. S. CongressEdit
During his tenure, he supported passage of the Medicare Program, and obtained federal funding for the Fernbank Science Center and Planetarium. He was also one of only two congressmen from Georgia (the other being Charles Weltner of the 5th district) to support the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.
MacKay was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Ninetieth Congress in 1966.
Life in Decatur, GeorgiaEdit
MacKay practiced law in Decatur, Georgia with his daughter Kathy and remained active in the Georgia Conservancy. He was a lifelong Methodist and served as an Emory trustee
MacKay was one of 32 state House members who opposed the Georgia flag change in 1956. "There was only one reason for putting the flag on there. Like the gun rack in the back of a pickup truck, it telegraphs a message," he said decades later. On Feb. 13, 1956, the day Governor Griffin approved the new flag with its Confederate emblem, the state Senate gave final legislative approval to a resolution declaring null and void the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.
Emory University conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree on MacKay at its Sesquicentennial Convocation December 10, 1986. The honors included the Georgia Conservancy’s "Distinguished Conservationist Award," the DeKalb Historical Society’s "History Maker Award," the 1979 Rock Howard Award, and the 1984 "Mr. DeKalb" Award.
Founder of the Georgia ConservancyEdit
Georgia Conservancy president John Sibley remarked after MacKay's passing, "He was a larger-than-life person and an environmentalist who raised the level of the environmental movement in Georgia all by himself." MacKay recognized that public concern for the environment, stemming from the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, needed to take root in Georgia. In January 1967, he assembled some of his colleagues to discuss forming the group that today is known as one of the leading environmental organizations in the nation.
Under MacKay’s leadership, the Conservancy understood that seeing what was happening in Georgia is the best way to learn about places and issues, that being active rather than reactive leads to success, and that Georgia’s economy and ecology are inseparable. The Georgia Conservancy honored Jamie with its Distinguished Conservationist award in 2001. Sweetwater Creek, Panola Mountain, the Okefenokee Swamp, Chattooga River, Cumberland Island, and Fernbank are only a few of his legacies.
Death and legacyEdit
MacKay died on July 2, 2004 at the age of 85, at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee where he maintained a boat cleat on his deck a thousand feet above the floor of Lookout Valley and invited others to join his Society of Noah – keeping the long view clearly in mind.
His first wife, Mary Caroline Lee MacKay, and his son, James Edward MacKay, predeceased him. He was survived by his wife Sara Lee MacKay, and his daughter Kathleen MacKay, of Rising Fawn, Georgia, a former member of the DeKalb Bar Association. MacKay's remains were cremated.
- TO PASS H.R. 6400, THE 1965 VOTING RIGHTS ACT. GovTrack.us
- United States Congress. "James MacKay (id: M000022)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
John J. Flynt, Jr.
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 4th congressional district
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967
Benjamin B. Blackburn
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.