Interview with Al Scott, April 18, 2018

Collection: Two-Party Georgia Oral History Project

Dublin Core


Albert J. (Al) Scott was born and raised in rural Effingham County before moving to Savannah when he was five years old. He graduated from Savannah’s historic Alfred E. Beach High School and Armstrong State University (now part of Georgia Southern University). Scott, a Democrat, served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1977 until 1982 and the Georgia State Senate from 1983 until 1991. After an unsuccessful campaign for Public Service Commissioner, Governor Zell Miller appointed Scott Georgia Labor Commissioner in 1991—the first African American to hold a constitutional office in Georgia. David Poythress defeated Scott in the 1992 Democratic primary for Labor Commissioner. Governor Roy Barnes appointed Scott to the Georgia State Board of Education in 2001. He won election as Chatham County Commission Chair in 2012 and ran unsuccessfully in 2020 for Chatham County Tax Commissioner. A retired manager at the Union Camp and International Paper, Scott resides in Savannah.

Scott discusses his childhood growing up in Savannah, serving in the U.S. Army, and attending Armstrong State University. He talks about his time in the Georgia House of Representatives, including his impressions of Speaker Tom Murphy and major legislation passed. Scott also recounts his decision to run for the Georgia State Senate and his subsequent work in the upper house, including legislation related to the Plant Vogtle. He talks about his unsuccessful campaign for Public Service Commission in 1992 and experience serving as Georgia Commissioner of Labor, the state’s first African-American constitutional officer. He recounts his decision to reenter politics and his time as Chatham County Commission Chair. During the latter portion of the interview, Scott offers his take on Georgia political history, the short- and long-term effects of the 2016 presidential election, and the possible impact of the forthcoming 2018 midterm elections. 






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Al Scott and Ashton Ellett, “Interview with Al Scott, April 18, 2018,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed December 7, 2022,