Saturday, January 19, 2013


January 19, 2013


Gadsden, Alabama  (JFK+50) James Hood*, who was one of two African-American students that Governor George Wallace attempted to stop from enrolling at the all-white University of Alabama in 1963, passed away Thursday, January 17 at the age of 70 here in Gadsden.

       Plaque at the University of Alabama
                  Honoring James Hood
             Photo by Ttownfeen (2010)

*James Hood was born in 1942.

Hood, along with Vivian Malone, was accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenback on June 11, 1963 when they were confronted by Governor Wallace at "the school house door."**

**Vivian Malone died in 2005, Nick Katzenback in 2012 & George Wallace in 1998.

This confrontation led President Kennedy to federalize the Alabama National Guard which then escorted Mr. Hood & Miss Malone forcing Governor Wallace to step aside after being so ordered by General Henry Graham.***

Governor Wallace & Nicholas Katzenback
      University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
                         June 11, 1963
             Photo by Warren K. Leffler
                US News & World Report
              Library of Congress Image

***George Wallace made plans to run against JFK in the Democratic Primaries of 1964 & did so against President Johnson.

This event is considered one of the key moments in the history of the Civil Rights movement.****

James Hood soon transferred to Wayne State University in Michigan where he earned his Bachelors Degree.  He later earned a Masters Degree at Michigan State University.

Dr. Hood was employed by the Madison Area Technical College for 26 years, retiring in 2002. He returned to the University of Alabama where he was awarded his Doctorate in 1997.

****JFK spoke to the nation on TV the evening of June 11, 1963.  He said:

"Next week I shall ask the Congress of the United States to act, to make a commitment it has not made in this century to the proposition that race has no place in American life or law."

                    JFK Speaks to the Nation
                               on Civil Rights
                                 June 11, 1963

JFK's Civil Rights Bill remained "bottled up" in Congress on the day of his assassination, but LBJ, in his 1st address to Congress as president said...

 "No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor (JFK's) memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long."

Even so, a 54 day filabuster held up passage in the Senate but in a history breaking move, the Senate ended it & both Senate & House passed the CIVIL RIGHTS BILL of 1964.

It outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national & religious minorities & women & ended unequal application of voter requirements & racial segregation in schools, at the workplace & in facilities serving the general public.


"James Hood Dies, Defied Segregation at the University of Alabama," by Bob Johnson, January 18, 2013.