George Wallace: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George Corley Wallace, Jr.

Wallace announces he is a presidential candidate on a third party ticket, February 8, 1968.

In office
January 14, 1963 – January 16, 1967
Lieutenant James B. Allen
Preceded by John Malcolm Patterson
Succeeded by Lurleen Burns Wallace
In office
January 18, 1971 – January 15, 1979
Lieutenant Jere Beasley
Preceded by Albert Brewer
Succeeded by Fob James
In office
January 17, 1983 – January 19, 1987
Lieutenant Bill Baxley
Preceded by Fob James
Succeeded by H. Guy Hunt

Born August 25, 1919(1919-08-25)
Clio, Alabama
Died September 13, 1998 (aged 79)
Montgomery, Alabama
Political party Democratic
American Independent Party (1968)
Spouse(s) Lurleen Wallace (deceased)
Cornelia Ellis Snively (divorced)
Lisa Taylor (divorced)
Alma mater University of Alabama
Profession lawyer, politician
Religion Born-again Christian (after 1964)
Baptist (before 1964)

George Corley Wallace, Jr. (August 25, 1919 – September 13, 1998), was the 45th Governor of Alabama, serving four terms: 1963–1967, 1971–1979 and 1983–1987. "The most influential loser" in 20th-century U.S. politics, according to biographers Dan T. Carter[1] and Stephan Lesher,[2] he ran for US president four times, running officially as a Democrat three times and in the American Independent Party once. A 1972 assassination attempt left him paralyzed and a wheelchair user for the remainder of his life. He is best known for his Southern populist[3] pro-segregation attitudes during the American desegregation period, convictions he renounced later in life.[4]


Early life

The first of four children, Wallace was a native of Barbour County, Alabama. He was born in the town of Clio, in rural southeast Alabama, to George Corley Wallace and Mozell Smith Wallace. He was the third of four generations to use the name George Wallace, but as neither parent liked the name "Junior", he was called George C. to distinguish him from his father, George, and his grandfather, Dr. Wallace.[5] Wallace's father had dropped out of college to pursue a life of farming when prices were high during World War I, but Mozell had to sell their farmland just to pay existing mortgages when George Sr. died in 1937.[6] Wallace was fascinated with politics from the age of ten, winning a contest to serve as a page for the Alabama Senate in 1935 and confidently predicting that he would one day be governor.[7]

Wallace became a regionally successful boxer in his high school days, then went directly to law school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1937.[8] He was a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity. After receiving a law degree in 1942, he enlisted in the Air Force, flying combat missions over Japan during World War II. Wallace attained the rank of staff sergeant[citation needed] in the 58th Bomb Wing of the 20th Air Force. He served under General Curtis LeMay, who would be his running mate in the 1968 presidential race. While in the service, Wallace nearly died of spinal meningitis, but prompt medical attention saved him. He was left with partial hearing loss and nerve damage, and was medically discharged with a disability pension.

Entry into politics

In 1938, at age nineteen, Wallace contributed to his grandfather's successful campaign for probate judge. Late in 1945, he was appointed assistant attorney general of Alabama, and in May 1946, he won his first election as a member to the Alabama House of Representatives. At the time, he was considered a moderate on racial issues. As a delegate to the 1948 Democratic National Convention, he did not join the Dixiecrat walkout at the convention, despite his opposition to President Harry S. Truman's proposed civil rights program, which he considered an infringement on states' rights. In his 1963 inauguration as governor, Wallace excused this action on political grounds.

In 1953, he was elected Circuit Judge in the Third Judicial Circuit of Alabama. Here he became known as "the little fightin' judge," a reference to his boxing days.[9] He gained a reputation for fairness regardless of the race of the plaintiff, and a black lawyer recalled, "Judge George Wallace was the most liberal judge that I had ever practiced law in front of. He was the first judge in Alabama to call me 'Mister' in a courtroom."[9][note 1]

Failed run for governor

He was defeated by John Patterson in Alabama's Democratic gubernatorial primary election in 1958, which at the time was the decisive election, the general election still almost always being a mere formality. This was a political crossroads for Wallace. Patterson ran with the support of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization Wallace had spoken against, while Wallace was endorsed by the NAACP.[9] After the election, aide Seymore Trammell recalled Wallace saying, "Seymore, you know why I lost that governor's race?... I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I'll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again."[note 2] In the wake of his defeat, Wallace adopted hard-line segregationism, and used this stand to court the white vote in the next gubernatorial election. When a supporter asked why he started using racist messages, Wallace replied, "You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor."[10]

Governor of Alabama


From left to right: Governor Wallace, NASA Administrator James E. Webb and scientist Wernher von Braun at the Marshall Space Flight Center.
Wallace standing against desegregation while being confronted by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach at the University of Alabama in 1963.

Wallace was elected governor in a landslide victory in November 1962. He took the oath of office on January 14, 1963, standing on the gold star marking the spot where, 102 years prior, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as President of the Confederate States of America. In his inaugural speech, he used the line for which he is best known:

In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.[10][11]

The lines[12] were written by Wallace's new speechwriter, Asa Earl Carter.

To stop desegregation by the enrollment of black students Vivian Malone and James Hood, he stood in front of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963. This became known as the "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door." After being confronted by federal marshals, Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, and the Alabama National Guard, he stood aside.

Wallace again attempted to stop four black students from enrolling in four separate elementary schools in Huntsville in September 1963. After intervention by a federal court in Birmingham, the four children were allowed to enter on September 9, becoming the first to integrate a primary or secondary school in Alabama.[13][14]

Wallace disapproved vehemently of the desegregation of the state of Alabama and wanted desperately for his state to remain segregated. In his own words: "The President (John F. Kennedy) wants us to surrender this state to Martin Luther King and his group of pro-Communists who have instituted these demonstrations."[15]

Economics and education

The principal achievement of Wallace's first term was an innovation in Alabama development several other states later adopted: he was the first Southern governor to travel to corporate headquarters in Northern and Northeastern states to offer tax abatements and other incentives to companies willing to locate plants in Alabama.

He also initiated a junior college system that is now spread throughout the state, preparing many students to complete four-year degrees at Auburn University, UAB, or the University of Alabama.

The University of South Alabama, a new state university in Mobile, was chartered in 1963 during Wallace's first year in office as governor.

Democratic presidential primaries of 1964

In November 15–20 of 1963, in the City of Dallas, Texas, George C. Wallace announced that he had intended to challenge the then 35th U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, for the Democratic Party's nomination as candidate for U.S. President for the November 1964 general election.

Building upon his newfound fame following the University of Alabama controversy, Wallace entered the Democratic primaries on the advice of a public relations expert from Wisconsin.[16] He ran on an "outsider" image, campaigning on his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, support of states' rights, and a "law and order" platform. In Democratic primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Indiana, he won a third of the vote in each state.[17]

At graduation in the Spring of 1964, Bob Jones University honored Wallace with an honorary doctorate.[18]

First Gentleman of Alabama

Term limits in the Alabama Constitution prevented Wallace from seeking a second term in 1966. Therefore, Wallace had his wife, Lurleen Wallace, run for the office as a surrogate candidate, similar to the 1924 run of Miriam Ferguson for the governorship of Texas on behalf of her husband James Ferguson, who had been impeached and was barred from running. Largely due to the work of Wallace's supporters, the Alabama restriction was later repealed.

Mrs. Wallace won the election in the fall of 1966, and was inaugurated in January 1967. However, she died in office on May 7, 1968, of cancer, during her husband's second presidential campaign.[19] She was succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Albert Brewer, reducing Wallace's influence until his new bid for election in his own right in November 1970.

1968 third party presidential run

Wallace ran for President in the 1968 election as the American Independent Party candidate. He hoped to force the House of Representatives to decide the election by receiving enough electoral votes, presumably giving him the role of a power broker. Wallace hoped that southern states could use their clout to end federal efforts at desegregation. His platform contained generous increases for beneficiaries of Social Security and Medicare.

Richard Nixon worried Wallace might steal enough votes to give the election to the Democratic candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Some Democrats feared Wallace's appeal to blue-collar workers and union members would hurt Humphrey in Northern states like Ohio, New Jersey, and Michigan. Wallace ran a "law and order" campaign similar to Nixon's.

Wallace considered Happy Chandler, the former baseball commissioner and governor of Kentucky, as his running mate in his 1968 campaign for the Presidency as a third party candidate; as one of Wallace's aides put it, "We have all the nuts in the country, we could get some decent people– you working one side of the street and he working the other side." Wallace invited Chandler, but when the press published the prospect, Wallace's supporters objected: Chandler had supported the hiring of Jackie Robinson by the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Wallace retracted the invitation, and chose Air Force General Curtis LeMay instead. LeMay was chairman of the board of an electronics company, and the company would dismiss him if he spent his time running for vice president; Hunt set up a million-dollar fund to reimburse him for any losses. LeMay was an enthusiast for the use of nuclear weapons; Wallace's aides spent until 4:20 before his first press conference attempting to explain to him that the American people did not agree, and to avoid such questions. He was asked about, and attempted to dispel, the American "phobia about nuclear weapons," discussing the radioactive landcrabs at Bikini atoll; this issue became a drag on Wallace's candidacy for the rest of the campaign.[20]

In 1968, when Wallace pledged to run over any demonstrators who got in front of his limousine and asserted that the only four letter words hippies did not know were w-o-r-k and s-o-a-p, his rhetoric became famous. He accused Humphrey and Nixon of wanting to radically desegregate the South. Wallace said, "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties."

Major media outlets observed the support Wallace received from extremist groups such as White Citizens' Councils. It has been noted that members of such groups had permeated the Wallace campaign by 1968 and, while Wallace did not openly seek their support, nor did he refuse it.[21] Indeed, at least one case has been documented of the unsavory Liberty Lobby distributing a pro-Wallace pamphlet entitled "Stand up for America" despite the campaign's denial of such a connection.[22]

While Wallace carried five Southern states and won almost ten million popular votes, Nixon received 301 electoral votes, more than needed to win the election. Wallace remains the last non-Democratic, non-Republican candidate to win any electoral votes. He was the first person to accomplish this since Harry F. Byrd, an independent segregationist candidate in the 1960 presidential election. (John Hospers in 1972, Ronald Reagan in 1976, Lloyd Bentsen in 1988 and John Edwards in 2004 all received one electoral vote from faithless electors, but none "won" these votes.) Wallace also received the vote of one North Carolina elector who was pledged to Nixon.

Many found Wallace an entertaining campaigner. To hippies who called him a Nazi, he replied, "I was killing fascists when you punks were in diapers." Another quote: "They're building a bridge over the Potomac for all the white liberals fleeing to Virginia."

Wallace decried the Supreme Court opinion in Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, which ordered immediate desegregation of Southern schools - he said the new Burger court was "no better than the Warren court" and called the justices "limousine hypocrites."[23]

Second term as governor

In 1970, Wallace faced incumbent Governor Albert Brewer, who was the first gubernatorial candidate since Reconstruction to openly court black voters.[24] Brewer unveiled a progressive platform and worked to build an alliance between blacks and the white working class. He said of Wallace's out of state trips, "Alabama needs a full-time governor."[25]

To weaken the prospects of a Wallace presidential campaign in 1972, President Nixon backed Brewer and arranged an Internal Revenue Service investigation in the Wallace campaign.[citation needed] In the primary, Brewer got the most votes but failed to win an outright majority, triggering a run-off election.[26]

In what Carter calls "one of the most racist campaigns in modern southern political history,"[26] Wallace campaign aired TV ads with slogans such as "Do you want the black block electing your governor?" and circulated an ad showing a white girl surrounded by seven black boys, with the slogan "Wake Up Alabama! Blacks vow to take over Alabama."[27] Wallace called Brewer "Sissy Britches"[28] and promised not to run for president a third time.[25][26]

Wallace defeated Brewer in the runoff. The day after the election, he flew to Wisconsin to campaign for the White House.[25] Wallace, whose presidential ambitions would have been destroyed by a defeat, has been said to have run "one of the nastiest campaigns in state history," using racist rhetoric while proposing few ideas of his own.[24]

Democratic presidential primaries of 1972 and assassination attempt

On 13 January 1972, Wallace declared himself a candidate, entering the field with George McGovern, 1968 nominee Hubert Humphrey, and nine other Democratic opponents. In Florida's primary, Wallace carried every county to win 42 percent of the vote. When running, Wallace claimed he was no longer for segregation, and had always been a moderate.[9] Though no longer in favor of segregation, Wallace was opposed to desegregation busing during his campaign, a position Nixon would adopt early on as President.[29]

For the next four months, Wallace's campaign went extremely well. However, Wallace was shot four times by Arthur Bremer while campaigning in Laurel, Maryland, on May 15, 1972, at a time when he was receiving high ratings in the opinion polls. Bremer was seen at a Wallace rally in Wheaton, Maryland, earlier that day and two days earlier at a rally in Dearborn, Michigan. As one of the bullets lodged in Wallace's spinal column, Wallace was left paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life. Three others were wounded in the shooting and also survived. Bremer's diary, An Assassin's Diary, published after his arrest shows the assassination attempt was motivated by a desire for fame, not by politics, and that President Nixon had been an earlier target. Bremer was sentenced to sixty-three years in prison on 4 August 1972, later reduced to fifty-three years at the end of September 1972. Bremer served thirty-five years and was released on parole on November 9, 2007. Wallace forgave Bremer in August 1995, and wrote to him, but Bremer never replied. Bremer's diary inspired the 1976 movie Taxi Driver which in turn inspired the assassination attempt on the life of President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley, Jr. in 1981. Following the assassination attempt, Wallace was visited at the hospital by Democratic Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm,[30] a representative from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn who at the time was the nation's only African American female member of congress. Despite their ideological differences and the opposition of Chisholm's constituents, many of whom were all too happy to see Wallace get shot, Chisholm visited Wallace as she felt it was the humane thing to do.

Following the shooting, Wallace won primaries in Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee, and North Carolina. From his wheelchair, Wallace spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Miami on July 11, 1972.

Since Wallace was out of Alabama for more than twenty days when he was recovering in Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland, the state constitution required Lieutenant Governor Jere Beasley to serve as acting governor from June 5 until Wallace's return to Alabama on July 7. Wallace never returned to Maryland. He continued serving as governor, and easily won the gubernatorial primary election of November 1974.

Democratic presidential primaries of 1976

Wallace announced his fourth bid for the presidency in November 1975. The campaign was plagued by voters' concerns with his health, as well as the media's constant use of images of his apparent "helplessness."[citation needed] His supporters complained such coverage was motivated by bias, citing the discretion used in coverage three decades earlier, or lack of coverage, of Franklin D. Roosevelt's paralysis before television became commercially available. Calculating all the Southern primaries and caucuses, Wallace carried only Mississippi, South Carolina and his home state of Alabama. Calculating the popular votes in all primaries and caucuses, Wallace placed third behind Jimmy Carter and California Governor Jerry Brown. After the primaries were completed, and he had lost several Southern primaries to former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter, Wallace dropped out in June 1976. He eventually endorsed Carter, and later claimed that he facilitated a Southerner's nomination. However, no position that Wallace advocated was included in the 1976 Democratic platform.

Final term as governor

Change of views

Wallace announced that he was a born-again Christian in the late 1970s, and apologized to black civil rights leaders for his earlier segregationist views. He said that while he had once sought power and glory, he realized he needed to seek love and forgiveness.[note 3] In 1979, as blacks began voting in large numbers in Alabama, Wallace said of his stand in the schoolhouse door: "I was wrong. Those days are over and they ought to be over."[4] His final term as Governor (1983–1987) saw a record number of black appointments to government positions.[31] In the 1982 Alabama gubernatorial Democratic primary, Wallace's main opponents were Lieutenant Governor George McMillan and Alabama House Speaker Joe McCorquodale. In the primary, McCorquodale was eliminated, and the vote went to a runoff with Wallace holding a slight edge over McMillan. Wallace won the Democratic nomination by a margin of 51 to 49 percent.

In the general election, his opponent was Montgomery Republican mayor Emory Folmar. Polling experts said this was the best chance since Reconstruction for a Republican to be elected Alabama governor. However, it was Wallace who made the victory speech on Election Night.

George Wallace achieved four gubernatorial terms across three decades, totaling 16 years in office.

Final years

In 1996, when asked by a reporter which contemporary American political figure he most admired, he paused thoughtfully for a moment, smiled, and said: "Myself."

At a restaurant a few blocks from the State Capitol, Wallace became something of a fixture. In constant pain, he was surrounded by an entourage of old friends and visiting well-wishers and continued this ritual until a few weeks before his death. Wallace died of septic shock from a bacterial infection in Jackson Hospital in Montgomery on September 13, 1998. He suffered from respiratory problems in addition to complications from his gun-shot spinal injury. He is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Montgomery.

The George Wallace Tunnel on Interstate 10 which traverses the Mobile Bay is named in his honor. Wallace was the subject of a documentary, George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire, shown by PBS on The American Experience in 2000.[9][32] The TNT cable network also produced a movie George Wallace in 1997, which was a John Frankenheimer film starring Gary Sinise.

Marriages and children

Wallace's first wife, Lurleen Burns Wallace, died shortly after becoming the first (and, as of 2010, only) woman to be elected as governor of Alabama in 1966. Wallace had withheld from her information from her doctor in 1961 that she may have been developing uterine cancer. They had four children together: Bobbi Jo (1944) Parsons, Peggy Sue (1950) Kennedy, George III, known as George Junior (1951), and Lee (1961) Dye, who was named after Robert E. Lee. After her death the couple's younger children, aged 18, 16, and 6, were sent to live with family members and friends for care (their eldest daughter had already married and left home).[19] Their son, commonly called George Wallace Jr., is a Republican active in Alabama politics. He was twice elected State Treasurer. He was an elected member of the Public Service Commission until he sought the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor. He lost in a runoff in July 2006.

On January 4, 1971, Wallace wed the former Cornelia Ellis Snively (1939–2009), a niece of former Alabama Governor Jim Folsom, known as "Big Jim". The attractive "C'nelia" had been a performer and was nick-named "the Jackie Kennedy of the Rednecks." Her mother, the colorful and notorious Ruby Folsom, commented when told of the marriage: "Why, George ain't Titty high." The couple were divorced in 1978. The second Mrs. Wallace died on January 8, 2009, at the age of 69.[33]

In 1981, Wallace married Lisa Taylor, a country music singer; they divorced in 1987.


  1. ^ At the time, it was common practice for judges in the area to refer to black lawyers by their first names, while their white colleagues were addressed formally as "Mister".
  2. ^ Carter (1996, p. 2) notes that Wallace would later deny a similar quote that appeared in a 1968 biography by Marshall Frady: "'Well boys,' he said tightly as he snuffed out his cigar, 'no other son-of-a-bitch will ever out-nigger me again.'" Riechers, Maggie (March/April 2000). "Racism to Redemption: The Path of George Wallace". Humanities 21 (2). Retrieved 2006-05-25. 
  3. ^ According to Carter (1995, pp. 236-37), "But no one who knew Wallace well ever took seriously his earnest profession - uttered a thousand times after 1963 - that he [had been] a segregationist, not a racist. ... Wallace, like most white southerners of his generation, [had] genuinely believed blacks to be a separate, inferior race."


  1. ^ Carter, Dan T. (1995). The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 468. ISBN 0807125970. 
  2. ^ Lesher, Stephan (1994). George Wallace: American Populist. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. p. xi. ISBN 0201622106. 
  3. ^ "Fatal Attraction". , New America Foundation
  4. ^ a b Edwards, George C., Government in America: people, politics, and policy(2009) , Pearson Education, 80.
  5. ^ Carter (1995), p. 21.
  6. ^ Carter (1995), p. 41.
  7. ^ Carter (1995), pp. 30-31.
  8. ^ Alabama Governor George Wallace, gubernatorial history
  9. ^ a b c d e Mccabe, Daniel (writer, director, producer), Paul Stekler (writer, director, producer), Steve Fayer (writer). (2000). George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire. [Documentary]. Boston, USA: American Experience. 
  10. ^ a b Public Broadcasting Service; WGBH (2000). "George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire: Wallace Quotes". The American Experience. PBS. Retrieved 2006-09-05. 
  11. ^ Michael J. Klarman (March/April 2004). "Brown v. Board: 50 Years Later". Humanities: the Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Retrieved 2006-09-05.. 
  12. ^ Cf. Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, forever" (KJV).
  13. ^ Sonnie Wellington Hereford IV (Spring 2005). "My Walk Into History" ( – Scholar search). Notre Dame Magazine. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  14. ^ A brief history of race and schools, The Huntsville Times
  15. ^ Alabama Governor George Wallace, public statement of May 8, 1963 in the New York Times. May 9, 1963).
  16. ^ Carter (1995), p. 205.
  17. ^ Carter (1995), pp. 198-225.
  18. ^ Archie Vernon Huff, Greenville: the history of the city and county in the South Carolina Piedmont, Columbia: U South Carolina P, 1995, p. 404.
  19. ^ a b Carter (1995), pp. 310-312, 317-320.
  20. ^ LeMay and Chandler in Perlstein, Rick (2008). Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. New York: Scribner. p. 348. ISBN 0743243021. 
  21. ^ Diamond, Sara (1995). Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States. New York: Guilford Press. pp. 142–146. ISBN 0898628644. 
  22. ^ Carter (1995), pp. 296-297.
  23. ^ Woodward, Bob; Scott Armstrong (September 1979). The Brethren. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-24110-9. Page 56.
  24. ^ a b William, Warren, et al (1994). Alabama: The History of a Deep South State. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. p. 576. 
  25. ^ a b c Flowers, Steve, "Steve Flowerss Inside the Statehouse", October 12, 2005
  26. ^ a b c Carter, Dan T. (1996). From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich: Race in the Conservative Counterrevolution, 1963-1994. Louisiana State University Press. pp. 46–48. ISBN 019507680X. 
  27. ^ Swint, Di Kerwin C. (2006). Mudslingers: The Top 25 Negative Political Campaigns of All Time Countdown from No. 25 to No. 1. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 228. ISBN 0-275985105. 
  28. ^ Season Openers - Printout - TIME
  29. ^ Carter (1996), pp. 17-32.
  30. ^ [1]
  31. ^ Foner, Eric; John Arthur Garraty, Society of American Historians (1991). The Reader's Companion to American History. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 1127. ISBN 9780395513729. 
  32. ^ Public Broadcasting Service; WGBH (1999). "George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire (web site)". The American Experience. PBS. Retrieved 2006-05-25.  Web site for the PBS documentary, including a complete transcript, references to other Wallace information, and tools for teachers.
  33. ^ Former Alabama first lady Cornelia Wallace dies WZTV FOX17/Nashville

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John Malcolm Patterson
Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Lurleen Wallace
Preceded by
Albert Brewer
Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Fob James
Preceded by
Fob James
Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
H. Guy Hunt
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Malcolm Patterson
Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Alabama
1962 (won)
Succeeded by
Lurleen Wallace
Preceded by
American Independent Party presidential nominee
1968 (3rd)
Succeeded by
John G. Schmitz
Preceded by
Lurleen Wallace
Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Alabama
1970 (won), 1974 (won)
Succeeded by
Fob James
Preceded by
Fob James
Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Alabama
1982 (won)
Succeeded by
Bill Baxley
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Lurleen Wallace
First Gentleman of Alabama
1967 – 1968
Succeeded by
Martha Farmer Brewer


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

We shall continue to maintain segregation in Alabama completely and absolutely without violence or ill-will.

George Corley Wallace Jr. (August 25, 1919 – September 13, 1998), was a United States politician who was elected Governor of Alabama as a Democrat for four terms (1963–1967, 1971–1979 and 1983–1987) and ran for U.S. President four times. He is best known for his Southern populist pro-segregation attitudes during the American desegregation period, convictions he renounced later in life.



Attempting to block integration at the University of Alabama, Governor George Wallace stands defiantly at the door while being confronted by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach.
  • We shall continue to maintain segregation in Alabama completely and absolutely without violence or ill-will. ... I advocate hatred of no man, because hate will only compound the problems facing the South. ... We ask for patience and tolerance and make an earnest request that we be allowed to handle state and local affairs without outside interference.
    • First gubernatorial campaign (14 February 1958)
  • I want to tell the good people of this state as a judge of the 3rd Judicial Circuit, if I didn’t have what it took to treat a man fair regardless of his color, then I don’t have what it takes to be the governor of your great state.
    • First gubernatorial campaign (1958)
  • I was outsegged (segregated) by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now, I will never be outsegged again.
    • To Seymore Trammell (1958)
  • As your governor, I shall resist any illegal federal court order, even to the point of standing at the schoolhouse door in person, if necessary.
    • Campaign speech on federally mandated integration (1962)
  • It is very appropriate that from this cradle of the Confederacy, this very heart of the great Anglo-Saxon Southland, that today we sound the drum for freedom as have our generations of forebears before us time and again down through history. Let us rise to the call for freedom-loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.
    • First Inaugural Speech as Governor of Alabama, (January 1963)
  • The unwelcomed, unwanted, unwarranted, and force-induced intrusion upon the campus of the University of Alabama today of the might of the central government offers frightful example of the oppression of the rights, privileges and sovereignty of this state by officers of the federal government.
    • At the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, during his stand to bar integration (1963)
  • Sure, I look like a white man. But my heart is as black as anyone's here.
    • Speech to a mostly African-American audience, as quoted in 1001 Dumbest Things Ever Said (2004) by Steven D. Price, p. 33
  • Why does the Air Force need expensive new bombers? Have the people we've been bombing over the years been complaining?
    • Absurdities, Scandals & Stupidities in Politics (2006) by Hakeem Shittu and Callie Query, p. 106


  • I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.


  • Being governor don't mean a thing anymore in this country. We're nothing. Just high-paid ornaments is all. I'm thinking of running for president myself.
  • If any demonstrator ever lays down in front of my car, it'll be the last car he'll ever lay down in front of.
  • I've read about foreign policy and studied — I know the number of continents.
  • I've seen many politicians paralyzed in the legs as myself, but I've seen more of them who were paralyzed in the head.
  • The doves in this country and some of the media are the cause of fifty-some-odd-thousand Americans being killed and all that money being spent, and all that inflation.
  • There's some people who've gone over the state and said, "Well, George Wallace has talked too strong about segregation." Now let me ask you this: how in the name of common sense can you be too strong about it? You're either for it or you're against it. There's not any middle ground as I know of. (1959)

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George Corley Wallace (born August 25, 1919 – died September 13, 1998) was an American politician. He served four terms as governor of Alabama, and also ran for President of the United States several times, during the 1960s and 1970s. Wallace was a longtime supporter of segregation; a policy that did not allow African-Americans to attend the same schools, or go to many of the same public places, as white people. In time, he changed his views, and said that he was sorry to African-Americans, and other people hurt by segregation.

During the 1972 presidential campaign, Wallace was shot by a would-be assassin, and suffered permanent injury to his spine. He could no longer walk, and spent the rest of his life using a wheelchair. After his last term as governor, he began speaking in public places (including churches), to promote tolerance and friendship between people of different races.

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