George Wallace Opposes Integration

George Wallace Opposes Integration



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George Wallace on segregation, 1964

In 1958, George Wallace ran against John Patterson in his first gubernatorial race. In that Alabama election, Wallace refused to make race an issue, and he declined the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan. This move won Wallace the support of the NAACP. Patterson, on the other hand, embraced Klan support, and he trounced Wallace in the election. In 1962 Wallace, having realized the power of race as a political tool, ran for governor again—this time as a proponent of segregation. He won by a landslide.

In 1964, Wallace decided to make a run for the presidency as a Democratic candidate. The first Democratic primary was held in Wisconsin. Local politicians treated Wallace’s candidacy as a joke, but Wallace shocked his critics when he received 266,000 votes—one-third of the 780,000 votes cast. On April 8, one day after the Wisconsin primary, Michigan resident Ms. Martin wrote to Wallace asking him for literature on segregation.

The sentiments expressed in Wallace’s reply stand in stark contrast to the reality of race relations in Alabama during his time as governor. Between the time of Wallace’s inauguration and his correspondence with Martin, Alabama had seen the bombings in Birmingham as well as Wallace’s face-off with federal forces over the integration of the University of Alabama.

Despite growing conflict over race and civil rights, Wallace wrote Martin that “we have never had a problem in the South except in a few very isolated instances and these have been the result of outside agitators.” Wallace asserted that “I personally have done more for the Negroes of the State of Alabama than any other individual,” citing job creation and the salaries of black teachers in Alabama. He rationalized segregation as “best for both races,” writing that “they each prefer their own pattern of society, their own churches and their own schools.” Wallace assured Martin that Alabamans were satisfied with society as it was and that the only “major friction” was created by “outside agitators.” Increasing racial violence and the Civil Rights Movement, however, pointed toward a changing equilibrium in race relations in Alabama.

A full transcript is available.

Excerpt

White and colored have lived together in the South for generations in peace and equanimity. They each prefer their own pattern of society, their own churches and their own schools—which history and experience have proven are best for best for both races. (As stated before, outside agitators have created any major friction occurring between the races.) This is true and applies to other areas as well. People who move to the south from sections where there is not a large negro population soon realize and are most outspoken in favor of our customs once they learn for themselves that our design for living is the best for all concerned.


How Marriage Equality in Alabama Is Not Like the Civil Rights Movement

H ere’s an SAT-level analogy question: Is Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court to the marriage equality movement what Alabama Governor George Wallace was to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s?

The comparison is an easy one to make, and numerous outlets drew the connection on Monday, in the aftermath of Moore’s attempt to halt same-sex marriages in his state. Facing integration of the University of Alabama in 1963, which had been mandated years earlier by Brown v. Board of Education, Wallace tried to block the change and was met by National Guard troops. This week, Moore defied a federal District Court ruling by ordering local probate judges not to license same-sex marriages, a bold challenge to the established principle of federal supremacy over state courts. In short, both Wallace and Moore relied on states’ rights claims to defy the federal government’s demand for social change.

Still, while some may see Moore’s last stand as a symbolic stand like Wallace’s, historians say the difference in context suggests that Moore is more likely to disappear with a whimper than a bang. Wallace was a martyr for a population heavily invested in the status quo. Moore is a martyr for a population resigned to change.

“Wallace was riding the segregation wave at its height,” says Dan Carter, author of George Wallace biography The Politics of Rage. “The fundamental difference is that accepting gays and lesbians and their rights is not nearly as painful. I think the gay issue, even in the deep South, in the most conservative areas, it&rsquos kind of a resigned acceptance.”

An analysis of demographic and voting data by the New York Times suggests that two-thirds of state residents are likely opposed to the unions. But opposition today is not nearly as strong as white southerners’ opposition to civil rights for black Americans was in 1963, Carter says, pointing to Southern newspaper coverage. In the 1960s, few Alabama newspapers would dare publish anything sympathetic to civil rights, according to Carter. On Monday, when same-sex marriages began, the state’s largest newspaper said it was an “extraordinary day.”

And, though a conflict between the state and federal governments persists &mdash probate judges in some Alabama counties aren’t issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing Moore’s guidance &mdash it remains unclear how the federal government will respond. At this point, it seems unlikely that such a response would mirror what happened in the 1960s.

&ldquoBobby Kennedy was willing to bring in federal marshals, willing to nationalize the National Guard in states,&rdquo says University of Alabama history professor Glenn Feldman, referring to the then-Attorney General’s response to Wallace in the 1960s. “I&rsquom not sure if the federal government today has the political backbone or will to make people respect it.”

Whether or not the White House ultimately cracks down on wayward Alabama judges, it’s hard to imagine that the situation would escalate as it did in 1963, when President John F. Kennedy sent in the National Guard to force integration. That’s because, in all likelihood, such measures would probably be unnecessary. Some of the judges under Moore’s purview ignored his order, and others said they’re waiting for clarification. Furthermore, Moore only has authority over the state’s judicial employees, not the state troopers and others whom Wallace used to fight integration.

Today, conservative Alabama Governor Robert Bentley seems sympathetic to Moore and hasn’t tried to restrict him. (He’s said he doesn’t want to “further complicate this issue.”) But he also seems likely to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. &ldquoThe issue of same sex marriage will be finally decided by the U.S. Supreme Court later this year,&rdquo he said in a statement. &ldquoI have great respect for the legal process, and the protections that the law provides for our people.”

For his part, President Obama &mdash who has addressed the comparison to Wallace &mdash also seems to believe that the courts can take care of this issue on their own, without the kind of intervention that was necessitated five decades ago. “I think that the courts at the federal level will have something to say to him,&rdquo he told BuzzFeed News about Roy Moore this week.

So, the states’-rights justifications for Wallace and Moore may be the same, but historical distinctions mean the resolution to Moore’s defiance is likely to be far less dramatic than Wallace’s was.

There is one more difference between them, however, and it suggests that such a resolution may not be the end of Moore’s story: Moore may not be ready to give up, even when moving on makes political sense. Wallace’s opposition to integration was driven by a political desire to win over his constituents, Feldman and Carter note, so he changed his views when it was no longer advantageous for him to oppose civil rights. Looking at Moore, however, they see someone whose deeply-held religious beliefs may lead him to push his authority further, even as the opinions of those around him evolve.

“He actually believes this stuff,” says Feldman. “He actually believes in his heart of hearts that the federal government is not a position to tell states what to do.”


Flashback: Joe Biden Repeatedly Praised George Wallace

9,262 Getty/AP Images

Joe Biden compared President Donald Trump to the late-Alabama Gov. George Wallace (D) on Wednesday, despite his own history with the once ardent segregationist.

Biden, who in recent months has faced controversy for praising two segregationist Democrats with whom he served in the United States Senate, made the comments on Wednesday during an address in Burlington, Iowa.

The speech was billed by Biden’s campaign as a discussion about the “battle for the soul of our nation” in the wake of a string of mass shootings. Instead of suggesting more funding for mental health or new gun control measures — two of the usual solutions proposed in the aftermath of such tragedies — Biden laid the blame directly on Trump, claiming the president had encouraged hatred and disunity among the American people.

“We’re living through a rare moment in this nation’s history. Where our president isn’t up to the moment,” the former vice president said. “Where our president lacks the moral authority to lead. Where our president has more in common with George Wallace than George Washington.”

The comparison was not totally surprising, given that Biden has escalated his attacks on the president in recent days, even likening him to the Ku Klux Klan on Monday. It did, however, strike some as odd because of Biden’s own long history of invoking and at time praising the late-Alabama governor.

“I think the Democratic Party could stand a liberal George Wallace — someone who’s not afraid to stand up and offend people, someone who wouldn’t pander but would say what the American people know in their gut is right,” Biden told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1975 when discussing why liberals should not “apologize for locking up criminals.”

At the time, Biden was a young-first term senator from Delaware who was developing a reputation for bucking his party, most notedly on the contentious issue of busing to desegregate public schools. Notwithstanding the fact that racial norms were more antiquated then they are today, Biden’s comments, nonetheless, were viewed as controversial.

Wallace, who was governor of Alabama in the mid-1960s and then again throughout most of the 1970s, stood out in the national psyche for his stringent opposition to integration, even going as far to declare “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” in his 1963 inaugural address. The image was reinforced only months later when Wallace faced down federal law enforcement officers at the University of Alabama while attempting to block integration efforts by then-President John F. Kennedy.

Wallace took his opposition to civil rights nationwide in 1964 by challenging then-President Lyndon Johnson for the Democrat nomination. Although he lost the contest overwhelmingly, Wallace’s ability to garner more than ten percent of the vote outside of his native South drew the eyes of many.

In 1968 he ran for president as an independent on a platform that included opposition to federally mandated busing and reasserting law and order. He lost the general election, but buoyed by a strong showing in the Deep South, sought the Democrat nomination in 1972. Despite winning a few primaries, Wallace’s presidential ambitions ended after a failed assassination attempt left him paralyzed.

By the time Biden invoked him to the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1975, Wallace was trying to rehabilitate his image by making inroads with Alabama’s black community. Even though he succeeded in that effort by some measure, Wallace remained a vigilant proponent of states rights, especially when it came to busing and crime — two issues that defined Biden’s early political career.

The political and ideological similarities between the two men have been acknowledged by Biden, himself, on multiple occasions. In 1975, during an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) about his support for a constitutional amendment to stop busing, Biden claimed liberals only favored the practice because it was associated with “racists” like Wallace.

“I think that part of the reason why much of this has not developed, much of the change has not developed, is because it has been an issue that has been in the hands of the racist,” Biden told NPR. “We liberals have out-of-hand rejected it because, if George Wallace is for it, it must be bad.”

“And so we haven’t really looked at it,” he continued. “Now there’s a confluence of streams. There is academic ferment against it — not majority, but academic ferment against it. There are young blacks and young white leaders against it.”

The former vice president similarly invoked Wallace during a 1981 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to explain why he and countless others supported tough-on-crime initiatives like the death penalty.

“Sometimes even George Wallace is right about some things,” Biden told the committee before claiming Americans supported the death penalty because the government did “not have the slightest idea how to rehabilitate” criminals.

Such instances in which Biden mentioned Wallace only grew through the 1980s, becoming more commonplace in the lead-up to his first presidential run in 1988. Back then, the South was still nominally Democrat but had voted overwhelmingly for President Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984. Biden appeared to believe his youth, moderate record, and stance on busing presented the best opportunity to bring Southern whites back into the Democrat camp.

As he traveled the South in 1986 and 1987, Biden not only downplayed his support for civil rights, but also made frequent references to Wallace. In April 1987, Biden even reportedly tried to court an Alabama audience by boasting about how Wallace had honored him with an award.

“Biden talked of his sympathy for the South bragged of an award he had received from George Wallace in 1973 and said “we [Delawareans] were on the South’s side in the Civil War,” as reported by the Inquirer in September of that year.

Apart from openly touting “his sympathy for the South” and the accolade bestowed by Wallace, Biden also bragged the Alabama governor heaped praise on his capabilities as a politician.

“Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware … tells Southerners that the lower half of his state is culturally part of Dixie,” the Detroit Free Press reported in May 1987. “He reminds them that former Alabama Gov. George Wallace praised him as one of the outstanding young politicians of America.”

Biden, though, did not bring up any of this history to the voters in Iowa on Wednesday. Rather the former vice president stuck relentlessly to his message that it would be dangerous for the country to reelect trump in 2020.

“Everyone knows who Donald Trump is,” Biden said. “We need to show them who we are. We choose hope over fear.”


Arguments in George Wallace’s Inaugural address

In his 1963 Inaugural address, Governor of Alabama George Wallace crafts a compelling argument designed to appeal to his Anglo-Saxon audience for the continuation of the “separate but equal” legal policies implemented throughout the South by making references to God, instilling fear, and repetitiously using the inclusive term “we.” Wallace connects to his listeners by affirming he is “one of them.” The governor does not make an effort to strongly argue against those who oppose him because he is not attempting to change anyone’s mind. Instead, his focus is on reinforcing his particular set of divisive beliefs.

The case of Brown V. Board of Education repealed the Plessy v. Ferguson decision that set the common law precedent for the “separate but equal” ideology. The ideology assumes that the Anglo-Saxton race will live completely separately from other races but both will have ‘equal’ facilities and opportunities. Brown effectively ended legal segregation in public schools after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People challenged the discriminatory Plessy v. Ferguson decision and the Supreme Court unanimously agreed (History.com). In his speech, George Wallace makes an impassioned argument against the Brown decision.

Governor Wallace is able to appeal to his white Alabama audience through his references to the Protestant God he shares with his audience. Strategically he sells both himself and his argument by using religion as a tool. By appealing to their belief that they are good people because they believe in God, he makes the argument that their beliefs are therefore righteous: “..the individual is encouraged in his spiritual growth and from that growth arrives at a character that enhances his charity toward others and from that character and that charity so is influenced business, and labor and farmer and government.” (Page 8). Using religion as proof that separate but equal is part of God’s plan and anyone who opposes the ideology is betraying God, Wallace makes his Protestant audience more receptive to his political arguments. For example, he says: “It is the spirit of power thirst that caused a President in Washington to take up Caesar’s pen and with one stroke of it make a law. A Law which the law making body of Congress refused to pass . . . a law that tells us that we can or cannot buy or sell our very homes, except by his conditions . . . and except at HIS discretion.” (Page 7). Wallace implies that the “President in Washington,” who said housing rights had to be equal among the races, is just as bad as Caesar, the ruler who condemned Jesus to death by crucifixion.

By referencing God, Wallace is also able to instill a deep distrust in the government that they are already uneasy with. Playing on the deeply-rooted Protestant belief that God is to be feared he states: “It is a government that claims to us that it is bountiful as it buys its power from us with the fruits of its rapaciousness of the wealth that free men before it have produced and builds on crumbling credit without responsibilities to the debtors… we find we are become government-fearing people . . . not God-fearing people.” (Page 5). The governor describes a fear of taxes, a fear of a controlling government, and a fear of not fearing God enough. Riling his audience through religious rhetoric, he later consoles them by claiming he is the leader strong enough to maintain the separate but equal status quo and keep the non-believing federal government and its forced integration out of Alabama. Wallace assures his audience he will make certain the Alabama government will not be more feared than God.

Paternalistically Wallace states: “We have placed this sign, “In God We Trust,” upon our State Capitol on this Inauguration Day as physical evidence of determination to renew the faith of our fathers and to practice the free heritage they bequeathed to us,” (Page 8). He, again, reinstates the idea of God, but also references “our fathers,” to imply that America should be run by the upper class white men. That is tradition, after all.

Wallace also refers to “the free heritage they bequeathed to us” in this section of his speech. In essence, Wallace is warning that should (Anglo-Saxon) people not continue to fight for separate but equal, their cultural identity will be stolen away. The governor begins this argument on page five of his speech when he mentions the uprisings in Congo, Angola, Cuba and Mississippi. Congo, which had been ruled by a Belgian paternalism since 1908, became an independent republic on June 30th, 1960 (Encyclopedia Britannica). Wallace references this uprising in order to further the fear he previously places in his audience. He states: “But the Belgian survivors of the Congo cannot present their case to a war crimes commission . . . nor the Portuguese of Angola . . . nor the survivors of Castro . . . nor the citizens of Oxford, Mississippi.” (Page 5). Governor Wallace points out that these uprisings never should have occurred, since white people (such as the French-speaking Belgians in Congo) are superior. He implies that something similar will happen in the United States that the Civil Rights Movement will inspire those who are not Anglo-Saxon to band together to make Anglo-Saxons not only a minority, but a minority that has lost its cultural identity. This creates the same fear in his audience that he will later use to make his audience view him as an arbitrator between what is ‘right’ and what is ‘government.’ Wallace plays into the fear of change to appeal to his audience and paint himself as the leader that will save them from the godless federal government.

Despite using the fear tactic to established his position of an authoritative governor that distances him from the audience, Wallace often uses “we” to connect with them: “We intend, quite simply, to practice the free heritage as bequeathed to us as sons of free fathers. We intend to re-vitalize the truly new and progressive form of government that is less that two hundred years old.” (Page 7). This connection through “we” allows listeners to feel Wallace’s words more personally. To view Wallace as a person on their side, an all-powerful figure that will pave the road ahead of them so they need not worry about their futures under him.

Through his appeal to religion and word choices that spark feeling into his audience, Governor Wallace is able to make an argument for the preservation of the “separate but equal” policy. While the argument for his white listeners is persuasive, Wallace simply reinstates the thoughts of those with his same values, but he is not able to reach to an audience larger than that.

“Belgian Congo.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 13 Nov. 2009.

“BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION.” History.com, edited by Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, 1991.

Wallace, George C. “The Inaugural Address of Governor George C. Wallace.” 14 Jan. 1963, Montgomery, Alabama. Speech.


Share All sharing options for: The Painful Legacy of 1963

Alabama Governor George Wallace gives his inauguration speech on Jan. 14, 1963.

There was no mistaking the message delivered by Alabama's 46th governor in his inaugural address on Jan. 14, 1963. With a fury untempered by the freezing temperatures, George C. Wallace vowed to stand against the federal government with an unyielding commitment to oppose integration. The rhetorical "line in the dust" he drew was far more than political boilerplate it set the stage for one of the most painful years in the state’s history.

In the twelve months that followed Wallace’s segregationist call to arms, the state would be roiled by some the most dramatic and horrifying events of the civil rights movement. These events would indelibly sear the image of the state on the conscience of the nation. A half-century further on we have only begun to understand their enormous impact – both for good and for ill.

● In April and May, the Birmingham protests take place. These would culminate with the authorities using police dogs and fire hoses against protesters, including children. An agreement to integrate the city’s businesses brings the confrontations to an end on May 10. That night a pair of bombings targeting civil rights leaders spark rioting across the city fueled in part by state troopers sent by Wallace under the pretense of "restoring order."

● In June, less than a month after the situation in Birmingham has stabilized, Wallace re-ignites controversy by physically blocking the admission of two black students to the University of Alabama. While Alabama avoids the rioting that occurred the year prior at Ole Miss, "the stand in the schoolhouse door" becomes permanently associated with the school and its segregationist past.

● In late August a quarter of a million people participate in the March on Washington, marking a galvanizing moment in the civil rights movement. Days later, Wallace enters a showdown with the federal courts over the integration of Alabama’s primary and secondary schools. The court orders the schools to open and Wallace responds by directing the state to facilitate the transfer of all white students non-integrated schools.

● On Sept. 15 the violence in Alabama comes to a horrific crescendo when a bomb blast destroys part of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham killing four young girls preparing for Sunday school. Two other black teenagers are shot to death later that day in separate incidents. Just a week prior, Wallace had told The New York Times that to stop integration all Alabama needed a "few first-class funerals."

As the image of the state became more and more troubled there was one undeniable point of pride for Alabamians – Crimson Tide football. Former Alabama player Paul W. Bryant had returned to Tuscaloosa in 1958 to take over a program at its nadir. Tide fans expected him to turn their team's gridiron fortunes around and The Bear did not disappoint. Just four years later Alabama went undefeated and claimed the national championship.

The Crimson Tide then showed no signs of slowing down after reaching that achievement. In 1962 Alabama came within a two-point conversion of repeating. On New Year’s Day 1963 Alabama pounded Oklahoma 17-0 in the Orange Bowl with President John F. Kennedy in attendance. The Crimson Tide had, without a doubt, returned to its place among the sport’s elite programs.

Throughout it all Bryant had been able to quietly break long standing racial barriers using his leverage both within college football and the state’s power structure. He was very well aware that winning national championships meant Alabama would have to play integrated teams. In his second season in Tuscaloosa Bryant set that important precedent by arranging the Tide to play Penn State in the 1959 Liberty Bowl. Although the game marked the end of Alabama's unwritten policy against playing integrated teams the outcry over the contest was minimal.

In that situation, Bryant benefited from a period of relative calm in the state over the issue of segregation. The controversy over the Montgomery bus boycott – which succeeded – and the admission of Autherine Lucy into the University of Alabama – which did not – had given way to an uneasy truce on the issue. That state of affairs ended with the arrival of the Freedom Riders in 1961.

The nation was aghast at images of the riders assaulted by mobs in Annistion, Birmingham and Montgomery while state officials stood by. The violence polarized the issue leaving no middle ground for compromise or conciliation.

Throughout all of this Bryant succeeded in distancing his program from the terrible events being broadcast nationally on the nightly news. The Oklahoma team that played against Alabama in the 1963 Orange Bowl boasted one black player, guard Ed McQuarters, but there was almost no mention of that fact in the lead-up to the game.

Still, it was painfully obvious that Alabama's famed football team remained a staunchly segregated institution. Although President Kennedy attended the game in Miami and visited with the Oklahoma team in the locker room, he avoided the Crimson Tide squad as well as former political ally, outgoing Alabama Governor John Patterson.

And as turmoil of the civil rights struggle engulfed the state so too would it affect Crimson Tide football as well. Worst of all, the integration of Alabama athletics had been set back years.

Even if Bryant wished to publicly oppose Wallace’s policies and move forward with integration, he found himself embroiled in his own controversy in 1963. The day after defeating the Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, Bryant had filed suit against Atlanta sportswriter Furman Bisher and The Saturday Evening Post for a story published the previous year alleging he used "brutal" coaching methods and condoned the injury of opposing players.

That legal battle would only intensify in March when the magazine published an expose accusing Bryant and Georgia Athletic Director Wally Butts of "fixing" a game several years prior. The entire off-season was overshadowed by the scandal and the ensuing trial in Atlanta. While the jury’s verdict in late August vindicated the Alabama coach, it would prove physically and emotionally draining to him and his program.

While Alabama football still performed very well in 1963 the 9-2 record was a step back for the Crimson Tide. That one of the loses was to bitter intrastate rival Auburn made it all the worse. The program rebounded to claim national titles in 1964 and 1965 but Byant's ability to divorce his program from the issue of racial inequality had been shattered.

When the stigma of events in the state during 1963 was rekindled with the violence in Selma two years later. It was no longer possible to ignore the absence of black players on the football team that represented the state. The issue was undoubtedly a factor weighing on poll voters who passed over the undefeated Crimson Tide squad for the national championship.

Ironically it would be Wallace's unwavering defiance and the violent opposition by segregationists inflamed by his rhetoric that opened the doors to change. In response to the events in Alabama during 1963, President Kennedy introduced the Civil Rights Act that prohibited discrimination by state governments and in public places. Tragically, it would be Kennedy's assassination in November of the year that provided his successor, Lyndon Johnson, the political momentum to see its passage.

The Civil Rights Act, along with a battery of federal court decisions handed down in its wake, would eventually provide the means to overturn discriminatory policies and practices at the state and local level. These actions, in turn, would fuel Wallace's anti-federal stance and eventually launch him on a surprisingly effective run at the presidency. The controversy over this issue continues unabated even today.

For Alabama the stigma of hatred, violence and racism would abide. As Crimson Tide football remained at the forefront of the sport as well as inescapably all-white, it carried that stigma as well. Even worse, efforts to integrate the team were hobbled by the anti-integration stance of state officials. It would not be until Sept. 12, 1971 that a black athlete would don the crimson and white to represent Alabama in a regular-season varsity football game making Alabama one of the very last teams in college football to do so.

Which leads me to a personal note. As a fan of Alabama football I firmly believe that it is my responsibility to grapple with this difficult aspect of the program's history. As much as I take a certain amount of pride in those trophies and titles earned by the players on the gridiron, I am also required to insure the difficult episodes of Crimson Tide history are preserved as well. And none are more important than integration.

For the past year or so, I have been working with historian Andrew Doyle of Winthrop University on a project examining the integration of the University of Alabama athletics. We firmly believe that the football program was not transformed by a single game, or a single person or any pat cause that fits a simple narrative. Instead it was a long difficult ordeal marked by advances and setbacks that took place in the context of the civil rights movement.

My absence from Roll Bama Roll over the past season has been entirely due to this effort. I knew going into the season my posting would have to be pared back but between my paying freelance work and this project I simply have not had the time to contribute to the site. My sole contributions this season were precisely because I had done research on those particular games. So with Todd stepping down I feel it is best to make my departure official as well.

The response to my work on Roll Bama Roll these past five years is what fuels my passion to tell this story. I know that there are Alabama fans out there who want to learn about this part of Crimson Tide history and, more importantly, deserve the opportunity. Your comments, emails and tweets have been far more than motivation they underscore the obligation I have to see this thing to completion.

Whoever takes over here at Roll Bama Roll deserves the opportunity to make this site their own without the interference of the "old guard" such as myself. I will still post occasionally on Football Study Hall and Team Speed Kills as I find topics in my research that deserve a wider audience. And I will keep providing tidbits on the early history of the program at Remember the Rose Bowl.

Thank y’all for a fantastic run and, as always, Roll Tide.

If you are interested in reading more about the civil rights era in Alabama and how it affected Crimson Tide football there are a number of great books I can recommend:


Opposing forced busing doesn’t mean you oppose integration

Students arrived on buses at the Blackstone School in the South End in September 1976. Globe Staff/File 1976/Globe Staff

Last week’s Democratic debate stage looked like the line on opening day at Sullivan’s on Castle Island.

Even then, not everybody got to take part.

How they can leave Seth Moulton on the sidelines while including the immortal Jay Inslee is beyond me.

But then, a lot of what the Democrats do is beyond me. You would think that, after a few years of the vulgar chaos that is the Trump administration, the Democrats would have a clear path to reclaiming the White House.

I’m not so sure. The Democrats seem intent on swinging as far to the left as the Republicans have to the right.

A few months ago, I read all these pieces about how Senator Kamala Harris isn’t really a progressive because as a prosecutor she, gasp, locked people up.

But Harris became a progressive darling last week when she dope-slapped Joe Biden over his justifying being back-slapping nice to some cracker senators from the South.

In what turned out to be the only memorable moment from two largely forgettable nights, Harris lambasted Biden over his respect for segregationists and stance on forced busing to achieve racial balance in public schools, then turned to Biden and added this qualification: “I do not believe you are a racist.”

Really? You could have fooled me.

I like Harris and may well vote for her in the primary. But there was something troubling about where she was going with that line of attack on old Joe.

Like many others when this subject is raised, Harris seemed to be using support for busing and support for integration interchangably, as if they mean the same thing.

School busing in Boston is a case study on how not to conduct grand experiments in social engineering.

The intent was absolutely noble. Boston’s schools were not only segregated, they were unequal. Schools with mostly black kids had fewer resources. Black parents sued, believing that if black kids and white kids went to the same schools, the resources would be distributed more equally.

But the chosen remedy, forcing kids out of their walk-to schools onto a bus across town to different neighborhoods, was a prescription for massive disorder.

According to those who know far more about these things, busing was not an ideal solution. As is said about capitalism, it’s the worst system, except for all the others. But in their genius, organizers decided to begin not with little kids who are less likely to harbor prejudices or weapons, but with teenagers with raging hormones and raging parents.

The results were predictable, and a generation lost.

Let’s be clear: The people in South Boston who threw rocks and epithets at black kids on school buses were reprehensible racists.

But the majority of people who opposed busing, not just in Southie but in other neighborhoods, were furious not at black kids, but at politicians and government officials who cavalierly foisted busing on them while life in their lily-white suburbs went on undisturbed.

A lot of Bostonians resented not black kids so much as hypocritical whites sitting in their segregated suburbs and in smug judgment of them while avoiding the tumult of busing.

If politicians today don’t grasp that reality, they will alienate a lot of potential voters.

In 1972, George McGovern, the senator from South Dakota who tried to save the nation from Richard Nixon, lost every state except Massachusetts. One of the most liberal nominees in his party’s history, McGovern carried South Boston.

If Democrats want to dismiss anyone who thinks busing in Boston was a bad idea as racist, that is certainly their right. But in doing so, they will do more to guarantee four more years of Donald Trump than to advance the cause of racial justice and equality.


He was best known as a segregationist

Wallace gave virulent, pro-segregationist speeches as governor of Alabama, a state wracked with violence during the civil rights movement.

During his first inaugural speech as governor in 1963, Wallace stood on the same ground where Jefferson Davis had been sworn in as president a century before and famously declared, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!"

Once in office, Wallace made his infamous "stand at the schoolhouse door," attempting to block the integration of the University of Alabama with state troopers beside him.

(National Guard troops, on orders from President John F. Kennedy, eventually prevailed in integrating the school).

Two years later, Wallace ordered state troopers to block voting rights activists from marching to Montgomery, resulting in the violent clashes in Selma that became known as "Bloody Sunday."

When Wallace turned his attentions to a second White House run in 1968, the Democratic establishment rejected his pro-segregationist platform.

Wallace, right, shakes hands with a Los Angeles police sergeant at Los Angeles International Airport in August 1968. (William Dietsch / Los Angeles Times)


Procedure

  1. For homework, have students read: “Whose Law?: State Sovereignty and the Integration of the University of Alabama” and answer the Questions to Consider.
  2. In class, discuss the answers to the three Questions to Consider. Tell students they are going to be looking at two primary sources that will allow them to hear the arguments made by Governor Wallace, Attorney General Kennedy, and President Kennedy to support their positions in this conflict. Provide students with the handout “States’ Rights and Federal Law” and the transcript of an excerpt of the April 25, 1963 meeting between Attorney General Kennedy and Governor Wallace. Remind students that all the participants at the meeting knew they were being taped by Governor Wallace and, therefore, knew their remarks might be heard by the public.
  3. Go over the questions that students must answer on the handout.
  4. Put students into small groups to read the transcript out loud. Have one student in each group read Attorney General Kennedy, another read Governor Wallace, and the others take notes—underlining quotations that might help the group fill in the handout. After each group has read through the transcript, students in each group should discuss the answers to the handout and begin filling in their own handout.
  5. Provide students with the transcript of the excerpt from President Kennedy’s May 22, 1963 press conference and tell them you will play the recording of the Q & A for the entire class. Tell students that, as they are listening to the recording, they should underline sentences from Kennedy’s response that might help them additionally fill in their handouts.
  6. After you have played the recording from the press conference for the students, have them return to their small groups to finish filling in the handout.
  7. Have all the students come together to discuss their responses in their completed handouts with the full class. Discuss with students the fact that these primary sources were all public comments and have them consider how that fact might have influenced how these leaders articulated their beliefs.

Opinion | There is no redemption for George Wallace

George Wallace’s name doesn’t deserve to be on any building anywhere.

That there is debate about this is, quite frankly, astounding. And it’s yet another example of the whitewashing of history that has gone on for far too long in this state, and throughout the South.

We love a good redemption story, even if it’s one that makes no sense. And the salvation of George Wallace definitely makes little sense, when you consider the body of purposeful, willful hatred that the man possessed.

As you read this, there is debate on the campus of Auburn University over whether it should remove Wallace’s name from a building. (University officials should also give a little thought to removing the name of convicted felon Mike Hubbard from a building, as well.) There have been lengthy discussions over this, and over Wallace’s 180-degree pivot on racial issues late in his life.

Wallace’s son, George Wallace Jr., wrote a lengthy op-ed that he shipped out to every media outlet in the state, begging people to consider his father’s redemption. I will not argue with Wallace Jr., because I simply cannot fathom carrying the burden of being that man’s son. And because I’d fight you if you said bad things about my father, no matter how right you might be.

But that’s where my deference ends.

George Wallace is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the state of Alabama, with the state of Alabama’s government and with the state of Alabama’s continued embarrassing problems with race and racism.

And no, that’s not an exaggeration for effect.

Wallace wasn’t an ignorant racist. He knew better. He knew what was right. He knew what was decent. He knew that black Alabamians were suffering and mistreated.

But he chose political expediency over human decency.

You see, Wallace was widely regarded, prior to his rise to the governor’s mansion, as a progressive thinker. As a judge in Alabama, he treated black citizens with respect and dignity, going so far as to refer to black attorneys as “mister.”

Prior to his first run for governor in 1958, Wallace spoke out against the KKK and he received the endorsement of the NAACP.

He got crushed by John Patterson — an outspoken and ignorant racist who happily accepted the Klan’s endorsement and promised to make sure black Alabamians never received fair treatment.

It was after that loss that Wallace famously said, “I was out-ni—-ed by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now that I’ll never be out-ni—-ed again.”

And with that, George Wallace became the most racist governor in the nation for a period of time. There was no cause, no legislation, no movement that would help black Alabamians that Wallace wouldn’t oppose.

Not because he believed in those causes or felt he was doing the right thing for the people.

But because being a full-fledged racist won him votes, got him elected, and launched his campaign for the presidency.

It also spawned about a thousand little George Wallace-wannabes, who have crammed themselves into every elected office in this state over the last 60-plus years. Every single one of them following the Wallace method of campaigning — say whatever the hell the people want to hear, no matter how awful or how hurtful, and even if you don’t believe it.

If you doubt this, go spend a little time in Montgomery today. Talk with the people who sponsor and support some of the ignorant, racist legislation that comes rolling through our State House. You will find out very quickly that the overwhelming majority of those lawmakers do not believe in what they’re sponsoring, and in unguarded moments will tell you that they’re slightly embarrassed by it.

“But that’s politics in Alabama,” as one prominent state lawmaker told me a few weeks ago.

More than anything else, that attitude — that laziness, that indifference, that selfishness — can be found under the folds of every problem we have in Alabama. Because knowledgeable, educated people who know better choose to coddle ignorance and hate in exchange for personal advancement.

It has held us back for generations. It has caused mountains of pain and suffering. It has robbed children of hope. And it has caused entire families their freedoms.

George Wallace didn’t invent political pandering, and he sure wasn’t the first politician to use it effectively. But you could make a strong case that no one used it better than him and that in no other state was racial pandering more effective or the longterm damages more costly.

And that is why George Wallace’s name shouldn’t be on any public building.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.


Watch the video: Governor George Wallace Racial Integration Stance at University of Alabama 1963