Wallace, George

Wallace, George (Corley)

(1919–  ) governor; born in Clio, Ala. A University of Alabama Law School graduate, he served as an army air force flight engineer during World War II. A Democratic assistant attorney general in Alabama (1946–47), he served in the legislature (1947–53). Elected a state circuit judge (1953–59) he defied the U.S. Civil Rights Commission with his segregationist rulings. After returning to private practice, he became Alabama's governor (1963–67), proclaiming "segregation forever." In 1963 he achieved national notoriety when he stood in the doorway of the administration building of the University of Alabama, denying two black students admission until President Kennedy brought in the national guard. Succeeded as governor by his wife Lurleen Wallace, he ran for president in 1968 on the American Independent Party ticket, championing rural Southern values and states' rights. A strong third, he received over nine million votes, winning in five southern states. He would serve three more terms as governor (1971–79, 1983–87) but he was in a wheelchair most of those years: In 1972, while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, he was shot and paralyzed, thus ending his national political ambitions. He had always insisted he was not a racist and in later years he did in fact align himself with a more liberal agenda and civil rights leaders.
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