University of Alabama Integration

Background:

On May 16, 1963, a federal district court in Alabama ordered the University of Alabama to admit African American students Vivien Malone and James Hood during its summer session. The court's decision virtually ensured a showdown between federal authorities and Alabama Governor George Wallace who had made a campaign promise a year earlier to prevent the school's integration even if it required that he stand in the schoolhouse door. Despite receiving a federal court injunction barring such a move, Wallace fulfilled his campaign pledge on June 11, when he temporarily blocked the students' entrance by positioning himself before the doorway of Foster Auditorium. Although he ultimately yielded when President Kennedy federalized Alabama's National Guard, the incident earned Wallace a nationwide reputation for white resistance.

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