June 11 - 1963 - George Wallace's Stand in the Schoolhouse Door

James Hood and Vivian Malone were allowed to enroll as the first African-American students at the University of Alabama by a court order. Governor of Alabama George Wallace decided to make a scene out of his opposition to the order by standing in the doorway to Foster Auditorium on the University's campus. Largely, it was a publicity stunt by Wallace, who was positioning himself as the segregationist candidate in the Democratic Presidential Primaries in 1964. In his gubernatorial Inaugural Address, Wallace famously proclaimed he would fight for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." This stance was a shift from his slightly more moderate stance in the 1950s. Yet a cynical view of politics pushed Wallace to being an arch-segregationist. "Standing in the schoolhouse door" was an opportunity for Wallace to raise his profile in a confrontation with the Kennedy administration, which Federalized the National Guard and had President Kennedy issue an executive order to remove him. Vivian Malone and James Hood were allowed to register after Wallace gave his speeches. Although he would later renounce his segregationist positions, the stand in the schoolhouse door remained his signature political moment.

William Floyd