Alben Barkley

Lance Dennee

A group of Paducah residents are concerned over the disrepair of what they say is an historic Lowertown building.

Matt Markgraf, WKMS - courtesy of Pogue Library

Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah is celebrating 70 years of service this year. Vice President, and western Kentucky native, Alben Barkley was instrumental in its foundation. On Sounds Good, Matt Markgraf and Special Collections & Exhibits Librarian Sarah Hopley of Murray State University's Pogue Library explore the special collection documenting the correspondence between the Vice President and community leaders and a detailed account of what the early days looked like for the airport. 

Matt Markgraf, WKMS - courtesy of Pogue Library

Decades before the construction of Murray State in Calloway County, there existed a college farther west in Hickman County, called Marvin College, and later Marvin University School. Vice President Alben Barkley is perhaps the most notable alumni. The Marvin special collection at Pogue Library, albeit small, may very well be the most substantial about this largely forgotten turn-of-the-last-century higher ed institution.

VEEP Doc Button Logo, WKMS

In the latest installment of the WKMS documentary series focusing on regional history and culture, VEEP: The Life and Times of Alben Barkley, producer Todd Hatton goes beyond Kentuckian Alben Barkley’s biography to offer listeners a look at the “Veep’s” profound accomplishments and life behind the scenes. 

Library of Congress, Harris and Ewing Collection

One of the few complaints, if not the only one, about the 1979 biography Dear Alben: Mr. Barkley of Kentucky was that people wanted more.  And in 1979, author Dr. James Libbey agreed, setting out to provide a more comprehensive look at the Commonwealth's most prominent political icon of the 20th century.

But, as it sometimes can, life got in the way.

"In 1981," Libbey said, "I was an academics administrator, so my plate was full, and I then had major surgery which, at the time, just knocked the stuffing out of me."  However, in 1986, Libbey returned to the classroom and decided to resume work on the biography of the man he calls "one of the most popular politicians of his time."

McConnell Visits Western Kentucky

Jun 30, 2014
WKMS News

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell will spend Monday morning visiting with constituents and later honor prominent Kentucky Senator Alben Barkley. The Senate Minority Leader plans to meet with Murray community leaders at 8:30 AM in the Robert O. Miller Conference Center, then travel to Benton for a 9:50 AM visit at Sugar and Spice Restaurant. 

 

There are those of us, of sufficient vintage, who can recall people saying, “If you want to vote in Kentucky, you register as a Democrat.”  That always seemed to be a little bit more true here in western Kentucky, the birthplace of Alben Barkley, Wendell Ford, Ned Breathitt, Ruby Laffoon, and Julian Carroll. Of course, western Kentucky is more competitive today politically, but one has to wonder how our part of the Commonwealth became a Democratic bastion in the first place. Dr. George Humphreys is the director of Madisonville Community College’s Muhlenberg campus and an alumnus of Murray State’s History Department.  He’s the author of The Democratic Rock of Gibraltar: The Rise and Fall of Western Kentucky Democratic Politics Since the New Deal, slated to come out next spring.  He’s on the line today to speak with us about it.