Stand in the Schoolhouse Door

Stand in the Schoolhouse Door
Part of the Civil Rights Movement
Wallace at University of Alabama edit2.jpg
Attempting to block integration at the University of Alabama, Governor of Alabama George Wallace stands at the door of Foster Auditorium while being confronted by US Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach.
DateJune 11, 1963
Location
Caused by
Resulted in
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures

Students

The White House

  • George Wallace, Governor

The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door took place at Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963. George Wallace, the Democratic Governor of Alabama, in a symbolic attempt to keep his inaugural promise of "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" and stop the desegregation of schools, stood at the door of the auditorium to try to block the entry of two African American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood.[1]

In response, President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 11111, which federalized the Alabama National Guard, and Guard General Henry Graham then commanded Wallace to step aside, saying, "Sir, it is my sad duty to ask you to step aside under the orders of the President of the United States."[2] Wallace then spoke further, but eventually moved, and Malone and Hood completed their registration. The incident brought Wallace into the national spotlight.[3]

Background

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision regarding the case called Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, in which the plaintiffs charged that the education of black children in separate public schools from their white counterparts was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education meant that the University of Alabama had to be desegregated. In the years following, hundreds of African-Americans applied for admission, but with one brief exception,[Note 1] all were denied. The University worked with police to find any disqualifying qualities, or when this failed, intimidated the applicants.[citation needed] But in 1963, three African-Americans —Vivian Malone Jones, Dave McGlathery and James Hood—applied. In early June a federal district judge ordered that they be admitted,[4] and forbade Governor Wallace from interfering.[5]