Robert C. Byrd: “The Emperor Has No Clothes” Speech

(2003)

About the Author

Robert C. Byrd was born Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr., in North Carolina in 1917. Adopted and raised by his aunt and uncle, Byrd grew up in the coalfields of West Virginia, where his father worked as a teamster, farmer, and coal miner. The Byrd family was poor, and Robert Byrd frequently did his homework by the light of oil lamps because their home had no electricity. After Byrd graduated from high school in 1934, he worked as a gas station attendant and a produce boy. After taking welding classes, he helped build cargo ships during World War II.

In 1946 Byrd ran for the West Virginia House of Delegates and won. While he was in the House of Delegates, he studied at Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston), at Concord College, and at Marshall College (now a university) but did not graduate. In 1950 he ran for a seat in the West Virginia Senate and won. Then, halfway through his Senate term, he ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives...

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Hans Christian Andersen (Library of Congress)

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