Byrd, Robert C.

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Also known as Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr.
American politician

Byrd was born Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr. His mother died in 1918 or 1919 during the flu pandemic and his father sent him to live with and be adopted by her sister and brother-in-law, an impoverished mining family in West Virginia. He graduated from high school first in his class but was too poor to go to university full time.

Working days and studying nights he eventually opened his own store, while his charismatic Sunday school teaching led to him becoming a prominent religious broadcaster. He entered the West Virginia state legislature in 1948 and the US Congress in 1952, in spite of a history of involvement with the Ku Klux Klan, which he later repudiated. He continued to study, earning several university degrees while in Congress. He worked his way through the chairmanships of several Senate committees, chief whip, etc., to become Senate majority leader in 1977-79 and 1987-88 and minority leader 1980-87. He is famous as a legislative tactician and is still in the Senate after 40 years.


Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97
"Byrd, Robert C(arlyle)," Current Biography Yearbook, 1978, pp. 59-63
Who's Who in America, 1996
"A Biography of Senator Byrd." [Includes portrait]. Available at: and also at:


20th Century
21st Century
Government, Politics, Civil Service, Public Administration
Theater, Broadcasting, Cinema
Anti-social or Disruptive Behavior, Adhd
Formal, American/European-Type Adoption
Birth or Infancy
Unmarried Mother, Single Parent (Mother or Father) Unable to Cope
Uncles and Aunts, Parents' Uncles and Aunts
Very Poor (Financially) Adoptive or Foster Families
Parent(s) Died, Disappeared or Became Incapacitated
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