1963 January 14

Governor George Wallace: “Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever”


In his 1963 Inaugural Address on this day, Alabama Governor George Wallace made the infamous declaration, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” He was quickly proven wrong, however, as integration at the University of Alabama proceeded. He famously “stood in the schoolhouse door” at the University of Alabama, on June 11, 1963, to block integration of the university; but after making a statement, he stepped aside and integration proceeded. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, signed into law on July 2, 1964, ended many forms of segregation the following year, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, signed into law on August 6, 1965, outlawed the most blatant forms of race discrimination in voting.

In 1964 and 1968, Wallace made serious campaigns for the presidency. The strength of his vote in Democratic Party primary elections in 1964 signaled the depth of the white backlash against civil rights in the North. In one notable event, he was denied a permit to use Shea Stadium in New York City in 1968; when he challenged the denial on the grounds of free speech, he accepted help from the ACLU and its attorney, Eleanor Holmes Norton, who was just beginning a long and distinguished career as feminist and civil rights leader. See September 30, 1968, for the incident.

Watch Wallace’s infamous speech on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLLDn7MjbF0

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)

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