Long before Joe Biden, John Kerry and JFK threw their hats in the ring for President, Alfred E. Smith blazed the trail in 1928 as the first Catholic nominee for the White House.
Smith’s story is the stuff of legend. The son of a poor Irish immigrant, Smith grew up in Lower Manhattan, laboured in the local fish market, served in the New York assembly for over 10 years, and won four elections for Governor. During the 1928 presidential election, he encountered an avalanche of anti-Catholic bigotry, much of it spearheaded by the Ku Klux Klan.
Join us as we examine the life and legacy of a good man who lived and defended the faith in public office, and whose witness can help shape our vision of what to look for in any politician, let alone a Catholic one. Our guest is Dr. Robert Slayton, Professor Emeritus of History at Chapman University and author of Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith.
Dr. Robert Slayton biography
Robert Slayton, “Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith”
Alfred E. Smith, “Catholic and Patriot”, The Atlantic (May 1927)
“How Al Smith and FDR countered the KKK and anti-Catholic prejudice in politics”
“Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire”
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Please note that this podcast has been edited for length and clarity.