Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2011

Governor Wallace vs. the U.S. Government, 1963

When George C. Wallace was inaugurated as Alabama's governor in 1962, his stance on Civil Rights was unmistakable: "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever," he proclaimed. But his words wouldn't stand for long as the nation continued a major campaign of desegregation in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. When two black students decided to pave the way for egalitarian education at the University of Alabama, Wallace did everything in his power to — quite literally — stand in their way. Known as " The Stand in the School House Door," on June 11, 1963 as Vivian Malone and James Hood were escorted to the registration hall, Wallace blocked the doorway so they couldn't pass. After learning of Wallace's blockade, President John F. Kennedy sent in the National Guard. Eventually Wallace bowed to federal pressure and stepped aside. Though the incident propelled Wallace into the national spotlight — and he went onto make four unsuccessful runs at the presidency — he renounced his segregationist views later in life.