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Our History: Featured Alumni/ae: Barksdale, Alfred D., 1915

Over the decades our graduates have developed distinguished careers as justices, members of Congress, ambassadors, educators, business people, and community leaders in many fields. This site features some of those late graduates.

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Alfred Dickinson Barksdale

Judge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia

Alfred Dickinson Barksdale was born in 1892 in Houston, Virginia. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1911 at the age of 18, and then earned an LL.B. in 1915 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was president of his class. After a year in private practice in Lynchburg, he served in the United States Army from 1916 to 1922. For his service with the Virginia-based 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division in Europe during World War I, he received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Croix de Guerre, and the Chevalier Legion of Honor. At the centennial ceremonies for the University of Virginia, Captain Barksdale, on behalf of the alumni, presented the University with a plaque listing the names of the 80 graduates killed in World War I.

Returning to civilian life, Barksdale again practiced law in Lynchburg from 1922 to 1938. He served as a member of the Senate of Virginia from 1924 to 1928, and was judge of Virginia's Sixth Circuit from 1938 to 1940, following in his father's footsteps.

Barksdale received a recess appointment from Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 19, 1939 to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia vacated by Armistead Mason Dobie, who had been elevated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The Senate confirmed his nomination on February 1, 1940, and he received his commission on February 5, 1940. He served for 17 years with fellow UVA Law alumnus John Paul, Jr. as the two judges of the district. Judge Barksdale was a member of the Board of Trustees of Hollins College for over thirty years, and was a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia from 1945 to 1957. He took senior status on August 1, 1957 and died in Lynchburg in 1972.

Alfred Barksdale World War I Papers at Virginia Military Institute

Alfred Dickinson Barksdale Papers, 1907-1972Accession #10230-b Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.