Richmond FitzGerald Bemiss (b. 1922) was a member of the Virginia General Assembly, serving in both the House of Delegates (1955-1959) and the Senate (1960-1967). His papers reflect his career in the Assembly, his work on various government commissions, and other related political activities and interests. Researchers interested in these subjects may also want to look at his book, The General Assembly: 1955-1967.
Bemiss entered the House of Delegates at the height of the school desegregation crisis and served in that body through the extra session of 1959. Although often voting with the conservative majority, Bemiss was nonetheless independent of the dominant Byrd organization and often took positions contrary to the Byrd line. As a member of the Gray Commission on Public Education, Bemiss supported "local option," was opposed to massive resistance, and approved of Lindsay Almond's "freedom of choice" compromise.
FitzGerald Bemiss's papers cover his career in the Virginia General Assembly, his work on various government commissions, and other related political activities and interests. Commissions on which he served include the Commission on Public Education (a.k.a. the Gray Commission), the Virginia Outdoor Recreation Study Commission, the Virginia Metropolitan Areas Study Commission, and the Governor's Commission on Virginia's Future. His areas of particular interest included educational and environmental issues.
Gift of FitzGerald Bemiss, Richmond, Va., 14 September 1988.