Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lee M. Russell
Russell was born in Lafayette County, Mississippi, Russell attended the University of Mississippi. During his time as a student, he was the leader in a movement to abolish Greek fraternities. Russell graduated from the university in 1901 and enrolled in the University of Mississippi law school. After completing the course, he was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Oxford, Mississippi.
Russell was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1907. He was elected to the Mississippi State Senate in 1909. In 1912, he successfully passed a bill prohibiting 'prohibit secret and exclusive societies at the public institutions of higher learning'. The law stayed on the books for twelve years.
In 1915, Russell was elected to the office of lieutenant governor. Russell was elected governor in 1919. His term was marked by crop failures, due to the boll weevil. Russell also filed an antitrust suit against several fire insurance companies for their business practices. In 1923, he was sued for seduction and breach of promise by his former secretary Frances Birkhead . Russell was acquitted and he blamed the lawsuit on the fire insurance industry.
Russell was unable to run for re-election due to the term limits in the Mississippi constitution at that time; whether he might have chosen to have done so in their absence is unknown. He retired to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and sold real estate for a period prior to returning to Jackson to practice law until his death.
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