Today in Literary History – September 10, 1935 – the assassination of Huey P. Long

Huey Long, nicknamed “The Kingfish,” was the controversial governor of Louisiana and later a United States senator He was assassinated on September 10, 1935. He had announced his candidacy for the United States presidency just a month earlier.

He was shot in the Capitol Building in Baton Rouge by Dr. Carl Weiss, the son-in-law of one of Long’s political rivals that he was in the middle of ousting.

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Long wasn’t a literary figure in his own right but he inspired many writers who used his outsized personality and mix of populism and demagoguery in their works. Whether they adhere strictly to Long’s career or not, many novels were inspired by his emotional hold on the masses.

Among them, Robett Penn Waren’s All the Kings Men, published in 1946, has a protaganist, Willy Stark, who is based directly on Long. Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 It Can’t Happen Here (which became popular again after Donald Trump’s election) is also loosely based on Long’s career.

Long’s only ventures into the arts were his 1935 book My First Days in the White House, and penning his own campaign song Every Man a King. Here he is “helping” the hapless singer of the song muddle through it.

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