(WTVM) - Do you know Bo?
Not the famous Auburn running back, but Howard "Bo" Callaway, who passed away this month at 86.
He played a pivotal role in expanding his family's beautiful Callaway Gardens.
A West Point graduate, Callaway was the first Republican Congressman elected in Georgia after the Civil War.
You may know he was Secretary of the Army during the final days of the Vietnam War. But here's something you may not know about Bo: in 1966 he almost defeated well-known Segregationist Lester Maddox in the race for governor.
Callaway, the Republican, won more votes than Maddox, but a third candidate made it too close to call.
Callaway was a conservative; he had a bumper sticker on his car, saying "Fight Poverty - Get A Job!"
Democrat Lester Maddox was a noisy opponent of civil rights, and tried to claim Callaway Gardens did not admit minorities.
Maddox was wrong – Callaway Gardens had an open admissions policy.
But Georgia was heavily Democratic then -- even future President Jimmy Carter backed Maddox.
So when the legislature finally broke the deadlock, the Segregationist Maddox became governor.
Would Georgia have been better off if Callaway had won?
Most would argue yes - especially compared to Maddox.
Even though Callaway lost that contest, he went on to great success in business and in politics.
Now Bo Callaway is remembered as he should be, as an American original.
WTVM Editorial Committee
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