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Speaker Rainey lets clock run out: 1934 | by Washington Area Spark
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Speaker Rainey lets clock run out: 1934

Speaker of the House Henry Thomas Rainey (D-Il.) begins clearing his desk as he waits for word from the Senate as Congress sets to adjourn June 18, 1934.


The session adjourned as Rainey kept from debate or a vote a special committee report addressing Jim Crow at the House of Representatives public restaurant.


Rainey was a prominent American politician during the first third of the 20th century. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1903 to 1921 and from 1923 to his death as a Democrat from Illinois. He is shown here in a 1921 photograph.


He was Speaker of the House during the famous Hundred days of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, and the last Speaker of the House born before the Civil War. He also served briefly as Majority Leader.


Rainey gave the Roosevelt administration carte blanche to do whatever it wanted, allowing almost the entire New Deal to be passed with little or no changes. More reforms were passed during the regular session starting December.


About 90 representatives hailed from the South under Rainey’s speakership—almost enough to tip the balance to the Republicans in the House on any given issue, if they became dissatisfied with Rainey.


When Oscar DePriest (R-Il) challenged the Jim Crow House of Representatives public restaurant in 1934, Rainey insured that the issue never came to a vote where a resolution banning segregation may have passed.


It was Rainey’s way of paying a debt to the “Solid South” for supporting Roosevelt’s New Deal agenda at the expense of African Americans.


For a detailed blog post on the fight against Jim Crow in the U.S. Capitol’s restaurants, see


For related images, see


The photographer is unknown. The image is a June 18, 1934 Harris and Ewing photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-hec-37657 (digital file from original negative)

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Taken on June 18, 1934