James Francis Byrnes (May 2, 1879 - April 9, 1972) was an American statesman from the state of South Carolina. During his career, Byrnes served as a member of the House of Representatives (1911–1925), as a Senator (1931–1941), as Justice of the Supreme Court (1941–1942), as Director of the Office of Economic Stabilization (1942-1943), as Director of the Office of War Mobilization (1943-1945), as Secretary of State (1945–1947), and as Governor of South Carolina (1951–1955). He therefore became one of very few politicians to be active in all three branches of the federal government while also being active in state government. He was also a confidant of PresidentsWoodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon, and was one of the most powerful men in American domestic and foreign policy in the mid-1940s. During Roosevelt's third term Byrnes was often referred to informally as the Assistant President.
Byrnes spoke before a closed audience, and his meeting had not been announced in the papers or on the radio. McGraw and her allies protested outside, while Byrnes' speech was broadcast over loudspeakers. After the speech, Byrnes went out to speak to the protesters. One woman, claiming that Byrnes had American blood on his hands, smeared red paint on his jacket. She was arrested, and the police immediately ordered McGraw to move her people out or they'd be arrested for conspiracy.
Nevertheless, McGraw had to admit that Byrnes could hold his listeners spellbound, as if he had the persuasive powers of The Phantom of the Opera.