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Former congressman dies in Lufkin


On this day in 1972, former congressman Martin Dies died in Lufkin. His father, also named Martin Dies, was an outspoken nativist and opponent of woman suffrage who served in Congress from 1909 to 1919. The younger Dies, born in Colorado City in 1900, was elected to Congress in 1930 and gained fame as the first chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), established in 1938 to investigate subversion. Dies ran against Lyndon B. Johnson for a Senate seat in 1941, finishing last in a four-way race. During World War II he became a leader of the anti-Roosevelt, anti-union Texas Regulars, but announced his retirement in 1944 after the Congress of Industrial Organizations launched a vast voter-registration drive and found a candidate to oppose him. In 1952 he won election to a new congressman-at-large seat, but he was not allowed to return to the HUAC, which believed that he had damaged the cause of anticommunism. He finished second to Ralph Yarborough in the 1957 special election to fill the Senate seat of Price Daniel, Sr. After declining to run for reelection to Congress in 1958, Dies continued to warn that the United States was succumbing to communism.

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