JFKWHP-KN-18592 (crop): President Kennedy Meets with North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford (Pictured: President Kennedy and Secretary of Commerce Luther H. Hodges), 22 August 1961

President Kennedy appointed former North Carolina Governor Luther H. Hodges Secretary of Commerce in 1961. Mr. Hodges focused on economic development but inevitably found himself in the center of the era’s most volatile political issue: the struggle for civil rights. Mr. Hodges presented himself as a moderate, and worked toward convincing both blacks and whites of the importance of compromise to avoid violence. An effective promoter and publicist, Mr. Hodges held his position until 1965, before returning to his business roots and joining several voluntary organizations, which allowed him to promote his strong belief in the work ethic and economic development.





1898 Born

1915-1919 University of North Carolina

1935 Production Manager, Marshall Field Textile Mills

1943 Vice President in charge of manufacturing, Marshall Field

1944 Textile-pricing Program, Office of Price Administration

1952-1960 Governor of North Carolina

1961-1965 Secretary of Commerce

1967 President, Rotary International

1968 Retired, Chapel Hill North Carolina

1974 Died


Businessman in the State House: Six Years as Governor of North Carolina, 1962.
The Business Conscience, 1963.


"Luther Hartwell Hodges." Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 9: 1971-1975. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994.
Reproduced Biography Resource Center Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, 2003.