(WHNT) — Republican Katie Britt made history on Tuesday night, becoming the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama. However, two other women served in the upper chamber before her — they were just appointed instead.
Dixie Bibb Graves and Maryon Pittman Allen were also history makers in Alabama politics, just in a different way.
Graves became the first woman ever to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate in 1937. Graves, known as “Miss Dixie” around the state, was appointed by her husband, then-Governor Bibb Graves, after Hugo Black resigned to take a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Graves served for just five months.
According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, Graves was picked from a field of possible candidates but Governor Graves opted against any of those to “favor none of the possible candidates over any other.” Dixie Graves, a Democrat, was also a reliable “Yes” vote for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s agenda in the interim.
As far as accomplishments during her short tenure, Graves became the first woman to chair the U.S. Senate and introduced a “Peace Bill,” a piece of legislation that would’ve drafted both men and women during wartime.
Graves was succeeded in the U.S. Senate by Lister Hill, who served until 1969.
It would be almost 40 years before another woman would represent the Yellowhammer State. Once again, she was a Democrat, appointed, and served for five months.
Maryon Pittman Allen was appointed to the seat held by her husband, James Allen, after his death in 1978. She served from June of that year until November. However, the difference between Allen and Graves is that Allen actively tried to run for a full term in the seat.
According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, the special election for the seat was set for November 1978, and Allen announced her intent to run. Allen received 44% of the vote in the Democratic primary, but lost to Donald Stewart in a runoff.
Allen’s most notable vote in the U.S. Senate was one that allowed states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
Graves and Allen died in 1965 and 2018, respectively.
Since Allen’s tenure, no woman has represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate. When Katie Britt takes office on January 2, 2023, she will be the first woman in more than a generation to represent the state.
Britt said in her victory speech Tuesday night, “You’re going to see headlines about me being the first woman elected to this position… You will hear I’m the youngest Republican elected to the U.S. Senate or the only Republican woman with school-age children.”
“I want you to know I understand how much these milestones carry, but it was our motto ‘Alabama First’,” Britt said. “I’m here to tell you it was not a campaign slogan, it was a promise.”
To see the rest of the results from Tuesday night’s midterm election in Alabama, click here.