Concept

Cliff Finch

Summary
Charles Clifton Finch (April 4, 1927 – April 22, 1986) was an American politician who served as the 57th governor of Mississippi from 1976 to 1980. Finch was born on April, 1927 in the village of Pope in Panola County, Mississippi. He was the eldest of five children of Christine (McMinn) and Carl Finch. His parents were poor farmers. He was educated in Panola County schools and at the age of 18 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. During World War II and he served with the 88th Infantry Division in the Italian Campaign as a howitzer gunner. After the war, Finch returned home and attended a school for veterans. He purchased a truck and hauled logs until an economic downturn occurred. He then got a job operating heavy machinery for a construction company in Guam, while also working part-time as a barber. After fourteen months he returned to Mississippi and used his earnings to help his father rebuild his house, which had burned down. He passed General Educational Development tests and then enrolled at the University of Mississippi at Oxford in 1953. In 1958, he graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law. During this time he worked variously as a campus police officer, bulldozer driver, dragline operator, and cotton measurer. He married Zelma Smith, a schoolteacher, on December 14, 1953. They had four children together. Finch opened a law practice in Batesville after earning his law degree. He specialized in damage suits, and in time became very financially successful. In 1959 he was elected over eight opponents to the Mississippi House of Representatives, where he served from 1960 to 1964. During this time Finch supported racial segregation and backed Governor Ross Barnett's efforts to preserve segregation in the state. In 1964 and again in 1968, he was elected district attorney for the Seventeenth Judicial District. In 1971, he was an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor. Despite his loss, he continued to make appearances around the state. Finch ran for the office of Governor of Mississippi in 1975, facing William F.
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