George C. Wallace Speeches
Scope and Contents
This collection consists primarily of copies of speeches prepared for delivery by Alabama Governor George C. Wallace between 1961 and 1965. Other materials in the collection include biographical information and copies of interviews, statements, and telegrams.
- Creation: circa 1961-1968
Conditions Governing Access
Noncirculating; available for research.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).
Biographical / Historical
George Corley Wallace was born on August 25, 1919, in Clio, Alabama, the eldest child of George C. Wallace, Sr. and Mozelle (Smith) Wallace. George Wallace, Sr. was a farmer, and his earnings were sometimes meager. Consequently, George Jr. often worked at odd jobs to supplement the family's income. Following his graduation from Barbour County High School in 1937, Wallace enrolled at the University of Alabama to study law. After the death of his father in November 1937, he had to work several jobs in order to remain in school. In 1942, he graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in law, but was unable to find a position in his field. He eventually, accepted a job driving a dump truck for the State Highway Department in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. During his tenure as a truck driver, he met his future wife, Lurleen Burns, whom he married on May 23, 1943. Four children were born of the union -- two sons and two daughters.
During World War II, Wallace served in the U.S. Air Force, as a member of a B-29 bomber crew. He survived several bombing raids over Japan and was discharged in December 1945, with the rank of Flight Sergeant. Following his discharge, he returned to his family in Mobile, Alabama.
Wallace embarked on his political career in 1946, when Alabama Governor, Chauncey Sparks, hired him as an assistant attorney general. In 1947, he was elected to the Alabama State Legislature, where he served from 1947 until 1952, when he was elected Third Judicial Circuit Judge. Known as "The Fighting Little Judge", he gained notoriety for his strong stand against desegregation and his criticisms of the federal government.
In 1958, Wallace made an unsuccessful bid for governor of Alabama, but in 1962, he won the gubernatorial race by the largest margin in Alabama history. At his inauguration, he delivered his now famous "Segregation Now, Segregation Forever" address, in which he promised to resist any attempt to desegregate Alabama schools. And in June 1963, he personally blocked the entrance at the University of Alabama in an attempt to prevent African American students from enrolling.
Under Alabama law (at that time) Wallace could not succeed himself as governor, so in 1966, his wife, Lurleen, ran and was elected. Unfortunately, Mrs. Wallace died of cancer on May 7, 1968, before completing her term of office. Wallace was subsequently elected governor of Alabama in 1970 and again in 1974.
In 1964, Wallace entered the United States presidential primaries but ultimately withdrew from the race declaring that his main goal, which was making the public aware of the growing power of the federal government, had been achieved. In 1968 he ran for the presidency of the United States as an independent candidate, and polled 9.9 million votes in a losing effort. In 1972, he ran for the Democratic nomination for president, and while campaigning at a Laurel, Maryland shopping center, he was shot by Arthur Herman Bremer, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Wallace remarried twice after the death of his first wife, Lurleen. In 1971, he married Cornelia Ellis Sniveley, from whom he was divorced in 1978. Shortly thereafter he married Lisa Taylor, a union which also ended in divorce. At this writing, Wallace resides in Montgomery, Alabama.
.90 Cubic Feet
Language of Materials
This collection should be of interest to researchers of the 1960s civil rights movement, the political climate of the 1960s, the history of Alabama, or the political posture of George C. Wallace.
A biographical pamphlet entitled "George and Lurleen Wallace", which is a compilation of stories written by Asa E. "Ace" Carter, has been placed at the beginning of the collection. The pamphlet was published in approximately 1968 by the Alabama Historical Book Committee. The remainder of the collection has been divided into four series:
Series I: Speeches
Series II: Interviews
Series III: Statements
Series IV: Miscellaneous Documents
Series I contains speeches dated between 1961 and 1965, all but two of which were delivered by Alabama Governor, George C. Wallace. The exceptions are two speeches delivered at an education meeting at Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 -- one by a Dr. Rose, the other by a Mrs. Turner. Governor Wallace was a staunch segregationist, and the central theme of his speeches was the growing power of the federal government, particularly in the area of equality for African American citizens. The series includes Wallace's 1963 inaugural address, as well as addresses before the Alabama Legislature, various civic organizations, state agencies, groundbreaking ceremonies, and colleges and universities. Several of the speeches were delivered in connection with Wallace's brief entry into the 1964 presidential campaign.
Series II consists almost exclusively of radio and television interviews with Governor Wallace between 1963 and 1965. Exceptions are an interview with Senator Daniel Brewster of Maryland on the NBC-TV "Today" show (May 6, 1964), and joint interviews with Governor Wallace and Governor Philip H. Hoff of New Jersey on WNAC-TV, Boston (Nov. 3, 1963) and NBC-TV's "Meet the Press" (Oct. 25, 1964). Interviewers such as Hugh Downs ("Today"), Lawrence Spivak ("Meet the Press"), and Dan Rather (CBS-TV "Face the Nation") probe Wallace's views on civil rights, both as governor of Alabama and as a candidate for president of the United States.
Series III is comprised of statements issued between 1963 and 1965. Most were generated by Governor Wallace, and discuss such topics as use of federal troops to quell violence in Birmingham, forced integration of the University of Alabama, traffic safety, Alabama voting rights, and Wallace's opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. In addition, there is a statement by nine southern governors in opposition to practices of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and a statement of principle by a governors' group in support of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill.
Series IV contains a variety of documents dated from 1963 to 1965, including telegrams to President John Kennedy protesting use of federal troops in Birmingham, a report on Alabama public schools, testimony before the Platform Committee of the 1963 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a memorandum concerning Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (re: school desegregation), and a copy of a telegram to President Lyndon Johnson concerning the proposed civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. An additional item is the testimony of Frank Mizell before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Senate Bill 1564 (Re: Negro voter registration). Materials in all four series are arranged chronologically.
Removed from records of the USM Public Relations Department, Archives Collection, on January 20, 1984.
- George C. Wallace Speeches
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository
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