The 74th Governor of Georgia is gone. A hearse carried former Governor Carl Sanders on his final trip to the Georgia Capitol Wednesday morning. State workers, along with honor guards from the Army National Guard and State Patrol were in attendance. Flags were at half-staff. Sanders was laid to rest later in the day, at Westover Memorial Park cemetery, in his native Augusta, Georgia.
Carl Edward Sanders was born in Augusta on May 25, 1925. He died in an Atlanta hospital on Sunday, November 16, 2014. He was 89.
When he was elected to the office of Governor in 1962, Sanders was the youngest to ever hold that position in Georgia. He was 37. He had been a quarterback on the University of Georgia football team. His studies were interrupted when, during World War II, he joined the Army Air Forces. After the war, he continued his studies at UGA graduating from law school in 1967.
In 1954, Sanders was elected to serve in the Georgia State House. In 1956, he was elected to the state Senate.
Congressman John Lewis described Sanders as one who “must be looked upon as one of the new governors of the south.” According to the Atlanta Representative, Sanders helped bring down the signs at the Georgia State Capitol that said whites and coloreds , “he helped desegregate the University of Georgia”, adds Lewis. He was so caring. He was elected at a time when the South was in transition.” But, Sanders’ progressive stance on segregation and race had its limits. He was in opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He also called it a “disgrace” when, in 1963, one of the first African American students at UGA, Charlayne Hunter Gault, married a white man.
Sanders left the Governor’s office in 1967 and went on to found a law firm. It is now known as Troutman Sanders LLP, and according to the company’s website, “has grown into an international firm with more than 600 attorneys. Sanders managed the firm for 25 years and continued to serve the firm as Chairman Emeritus and as a partner – who continued to come to the office most days until his death.”