Jamie L. Whitten (April 18, 1910 - September 9, 1995) was a United States Representative from Mississippi.
Jamie Whitten was born in Cascilla, Mississippi on April 18, 1910, he grew up in Cascilla and attended public schools there. After his graduation from the University of Mississippi, he briefly served as an educator before joining the bar in 1932.
In 1941, Whitten was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in a special election to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Congressman Wall Doxey to run for a senate seat, in the first Congressional district of Mississippi, a largly white and rural district located in the northeastern part of the state. He was subsequently elected to the next 26 Congresses. Throughout most of his tenure in the House, Whitten served on the Appropriations Committee, ultimately serving as Chairman from the 1979 retirement of George H. Mahon until young, Liberal Democrats in the House Democratic Caucus revolted and removed him in favor of William Huston Natcher after the 1992 election. His service from November 4, 1941 to January 3, 1995 set a record for length of service in the House.
Whitten was a Southern Democrat and a Conservative segregationist, having signed the Southern Manifesto condemning the U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education, which desegregated public schools and voting along with the entire Mississippi delegation to Congress and many of his southern colleagues against the Civil Rights Act of 1957, Civil Rights Act of 1960, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965, Civil Rights Act of 1968, Civil Rights Act of 1970, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. However, Whitten later apologized for these votes, calling them a "mistake" caused by severe misjudgement. Later in his career he voted for many liberal issues, because he feared being kicked out of his Committee Chairmanship by the new liberal Democrats, which they eventually did in 1992. He also frequently clashed with the Reagan administration on policy matters. He voted against Reagan's economic plans, tax cuts, increased defense spending, balanced budget initiative, tort reform, welfare reform, abortion restrictions, missile defense system, and the Persian Gulf War.
The Jamie Whitten Historical Site is located at the bridge of the Natchez Trace Parkway over the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, two projects which Whitten had sucessfully fought to fund over his tenure, overcoming serious opposition from Conservatives to their construction. He was also noted as the author of For Us, the Living, written largely as a pro-development, pro-chemical pesticide answer to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, the seminal 1962 book which helped to spur the modern environmental movement.
Declining to run for reelection to a historic 28th term in 1994, Whitten retired from the house after 54 years and as america's longest serving Congressman, a record that has yet to be surpassed. Whitten retired to his home in Oxford, Mississippi and died there on September 9, 1995, eight months after leaving office.