Tuesday, June 11, 1963: The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door


From The New York Times (link to full text below):

     TUSCALOOSA, Ala., June 11 -- Gov. George C. Wallace stepped aside today when confronted by federalized National Guard troops and permitted two Negroes to enroll in the University of Alabama. There was no violence.
     The Governor, flanked by state troopers, had staged a carefully planned show of defying a Federal Court desegregation order.
     Mr. Wallace refused four requests this morning from a Justice Department official that he allow Miss Vivian Malone and James A. Hood, both 20 years old to enter Foster Auditorium and register.
     This was in keeping with a campaign pledge that he would "stand in the schoolhouse door" to prevent a resumption of desegregation in Alabama's educational system.
     The official, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, Deputy Attorney General, did not press the issue by bringing the students from a waiting car to face the Governor. Instead, they were taken to their dormitories.
     However, the outcome was foreshadowed even then. Mr. Katzenbach told Mr. Wallace during the confrontation:
     "From the outset, Governor, all of us have known that the final chapter of this history will be the admission of those students."
     Units of the 31st (Dixie) Division, federalized on orders from President Kennedy, arrived on the campus four and a half hours later under the command of Brig. Gen. Henry V. Graham.
     In a voice that was scarcely audible, General Graham said that it was his "sad duty" to order the Governor to step aside.
     Mr. Wallace then read the second of two statements challenging the constituionality of court-ordered desegregation and left the auditorium with his aides for Montgomery.
     Three minutes after their departure, Mr. Hood walked into the auditorium with Federal officials to register. Miss Malone followed a minute later.

Scowling, Gov. Wallace peers through the bars of an auditorium window as he stands like a sentinel awaiting pair's arrival. (Photo and caption from Jet magazine, June 27, 1963)

Malone and Hood enroll for classes.

* Summary from Encyclopedia of Alabama: @
* New York Times story: @
* "Alabama Story: Negroes Enrolled As Governor Yields" (newsreel, from criticalpast.com): @
* NBC footage: @
* "Wallace in the Schoolhouse Door" (NPR, 2003): @

* "Statement and Proclamation of Governor George C. Wallace" (signed by Wallace; from Alabama Department of Archives and History): @
* Separate copy of speech (from Samford University Library): @
* Telegrams to and from Wallace (from Alabama Department of Archives and History): @
* "Through the Doors: Courage. Change. Progress." (from University of Alabama): @
* "A Sleight of History: University of Alabama's Foster Auditorium" (from southernspaces.org): @
* "The Schoolhouse Door: Segregation's Last Stand at the University of Alabama" (E. Culpepper Clark, 1993): @
* "A Civil Rights Milestone, June 11, 1963" (C-SPAN video, 2008): @
* Resources from Civil Rights Digital Library: @

Note: On the night of June 11, President Kennedy spoke on TV and radio about the situation in Alabama and outlined his intention to press for civil rights legislation.
* Transcript and video (from Miller Center, University of Virginia): @
* Links to draft of speech and final version (from National Archives): @
* Telegram from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Kennedy after speech (from JFK Library): @ 

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