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Hays, Lawrence Brooks (09 August 1898–12 October 1981), politician and Protestant layman, was born in London, Arkansas, the son of Adelbert Steele Hays, an attorney, and Sarah Tabitha “Sallie” Butler. Although his first name was in fact Lawrence, he preferred to go by his middle name, Brooks. His family took its religion—Baptist—and its politics—Democratic—seriously. Later, Hays would write that his early life was a “quadrangle marked by a line from … home to the public school, to the courthouse, to the little Baptist church, and back to the home.” He attended his first Democratic party convention at the age of ten....

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Williams, Hosea (5 Jan. 1926–16 Nov. 2000), civil rights activist, minister, and politician, was born Hosea Lorenzo Williams in Vilence, Florida, to Lecenia Williams and William Wiggins. After his mother died when Williams was ten years old, he was raised in Attapulgus, Georgia, by his grandparents Lena and Turner Williams. During his teen years he dropped out of high school and moved to Tallahassee, Florida for work. Shortly thereafter he entered the US Army during World War II and earned the rank of staff sergeant, receiving the military decoration of the Purple Heart during his military tenure. After his military service he returned to Georgia and finished Hutto High School in Bainbridge, Georgia, at the age of twenty-three....