Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wallace's "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door"

On June 11, 1963 Governor George Wallace made his “stand in the schoolhouse door” speech in opposition to the integration of Alabama schools.

The event took place in the doorway of Foster Auditorium on the campus of The University of Alabama in an attempt to prevent James Alexander Hood and Vivian Malone from enrolling in classes.. The “stand in the schoolhouse door” played an integral part in politics and the civil rights movement. Gov. Wallace gained national attention from the event. Later that evening, President Kennedy made a televised speech aligning himself with the civil rights movement.

Lillie Mae Beason, a student at The University of Alabama, watched Gov. Wallace deliver the speech from across the street through her dormitory window. When the event was over, Beason watched Gov. Wallace place a rolled paper in a nearby pipe. Later, she went to retrieve the document. What she found in the pipe was Gov. Wallace’s speech.

The speech is now in the Special Collection department of the Samford University Library.

Jennifer Taylor
Archivist, Samford University Library