On Thursday, approximately 65 people were taken back in time to the 1940s and 1950s to a time of corruption centered in the political atmosphere of Jim Wells and Duval Counties.
The Jim Wells County Historical Commission hosted a free history seminar on George Parr, The Freedom Party of Duval County and the political climate of the two counties.
Many, however, did not feel Parr's brand of politics was very democratic and after World War II, returning Duval County veterans took up the mission of deposing the Parr machine. In about 1952, 40 years after the Parr's had operated with a free hand, these veterans and others formed the Duval County Freedom Party to wrest control from Parr.
Despite important support from the state and federal governments, the Freedom Party only achieved modest success and by 1960 had faded from the scene and George Parr had resumed complete control of Duval County politics. Still, after Parr's suicide in 1974, remnants of the Freedom Party or descendants of some of the key players in the party were poised to challenge the machine again. This time, without a Parr at its head, the machine slowly came apart and while some remnants still exist, Duval County today, by and large, operates under the free democratic principles the founders of the Freedom Party espoused.