Gov. George Wallace blocks the door at the University of Alabama to keep two black students from enrolling on June 11, 1963.
Following his election as Governor of Alabama in January 1963, George Wallace stated in his inaugural address: “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
He kept to that promise when, fifty years ago today, he stood at the entrance to the University of Alabama to block two students, Vivian Malone and James Hood from enrolling at the campus in Tuscaloosa.
Vivian Malone – registering for school – 1963
Vivian Malone and James Hood – 1963
Wallace’s overt act of racsim became known as the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” and was a watershed moment in Civil Rights history.
When Wallace refused a Federal order to move out of the way, President Kennedy brought in 100 troops from the Alabama National Guard to assist federal officials. Wallace made the decision to leave the doorway rather than cause violence.
Kennedy spoke to a national audience hours after the Alabama showdown, outlining his plans for federal legislation to make way for further integration.
It all seems so outdated and archaic today. It’s almost as if we can’t imagine something like that happening…. Many say that one day we’ll look back at the issue of gay marriage and say the same thing. I think that’s right…
- “The Way It Is” – Bruce Hornsby
- “A Change Is Gonna Come” – Sam Cooke
- “Eyes On The Prize” – Sweet Honey In The Rock
- “Freedom Highway” – Mavis Staples
- “I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free)” – Nina Simone