1964 February 29

Chicago Loyola University Cancels George Wallace Speech; ACLU Protests


Officials at Loyola University of Chicago abruptly cancelled a scheduled speech by Alabama Governor George Wallace, the most prominent advocate of racial segregation in the country. The Illinois ACLU condemned the cancellation as a “clear violation of academic freedom.”

In September 1968 New York City denied Gov. Wallace permission to use Shea Stadium for a rally and speech. The ACLU represented Wallace in a First Amendment challenge to the denial (September 30, 1968). His ACLU attorney was Eleanor Holmes Norton, an African-American and future member of Congress from Washington, DC. Despite his strong commitment to racial segregation, Wallace’s aides did not object to the race of their boss’s attorney. For the ACLU it was a real case of “freedom for the thought we hate.” (See May 27, 1929 for the origins of that phrase.)

Learn more about Wallace and his impact on America: Dan T. Carter, The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, The Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics (1995)

Read: Samuel Walker, In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU (1990)

Learn about the ACLU today: www.aclu.org

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