GOVERNOR GEORGE WALLACE DIED 17 YEARS AGO TODAY
Montgomery, Alabama (JFK+50) Seventeen years ago today, September 13, 1998, the former Governor of the State of Alabama, George C. Wallace*, who had stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to block admittance of James Hood and Vivian Malone, the first African-American students to enroll there, died here in Montgomery at the age of 79.
Ironically, George Wallace at one time had been considered a liberal judge and had the support of the NAACP. When he narrowly lost the Democratic nomination for Governor to an opponent who had the support of the Ku Klux Klan, Wallace became a hard-line segregationist.
In his inaugural in 1963, Governor Wallace declared... "Segregation now. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever." The Governor was forced, however, to defer to President John F. Kennedy and federalized National Guard troops allowing the state university to be integrated.
During his third party campaign for President in 1972, Wallace was shot and permanently paralyzed below the waist. In 1982, Governor Wallace had a change of heart toward his views against racial integration. He said...
"We thought it was in the best interest of all concerned. We were mistaken."
After having been elected governor of his state four times and a candidate for President of the United States four times, George Wallace retired in 1986 saying: "I've climbed my last political mountain."
*George Corley Wallace, Jr. (1919-1998) was born in Clio, AL & graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1942. He served in the US Army in WWII and in 1946 was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives.
As a judge in 1952, GCW became the first to address black attorneys as 'Mister," a custom previously reserved for white lawyers. He died as a result of complications of Parkison's Disease.
"Former Ala. Gov. George C. Wallace Dies," by Richard Pearson, the Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com/