George C. Wallace
|45th Governor of Alabama|
January 17, 1983 – January 19, 1987
|Preceded by||Fob James|
|Succeeded by||H. Guy Hunt|
January 18, 1971 – January 15, 1979*
|Preceded by||Albert Brewer|
|Succeeded by||Fob James|
January 14, 1963 – January 16, 1967
|Preceded by||John Patterson|
|Succeeded by||Lurleen Wallace|
|First Gentleman of Alabama|
January 16, 1967 – May 7, 1968
|Preceded by||Lurleen Wallace (First Lady)|
|Succeeded by||Martha Farmer Brewer (First Lady)|
George Corley Wallace Jr.
August 25, 1919
Clio, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||September 13, 1998 (aged 79)|
Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.
|Resting place||Greenwood Cemetery|
|American Independent (1968)|
(m. 1943; died 1968)
(m. 1971; div. 1978)
(m. 1981; div. 1987)
|Children||4, including George|
|Education||University of Alabama (LLB)|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1942–1945|
|Unit||United States Army Air Forces|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
George Corley Wallace (August 25, 1919 – September 13, 1998) was an American politician. He served as Governor of Alabama serving from 1963 to 1967. He ran for President of the United States three times (1964, 1968, 1976).
Wallace died at the age of 79 from sepsis caused by a spinal infection after 26 years of being in a wheelchair.
Early life[change | change source]
Wallace was born George Corely Wallace on August 25, 1919 in Clio, Alabama. He studied at University of Alabama. He grew up in a lower middle class family. As a young man, he was an amateur boxer, where he fought as a bantamweight.
Wallace was a very short man for his entire life, and as an adult was about 5'2" (1.57m)
Career[change | change source]
He served four terms as governor of Alabama, and also ran for President of the United States several times, during the 1960s and 1970s. Wallace was a longtime supporter of segregation; a policy that did not allow African-Americans to attend the same schools, or go to many of the same public places, as white people. In 1963 he stood in a schoolhouse door to prevent black students from attending the school (which would have integrated the school). In a speech, he said he would support "segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever". He was a controversial figure. Some people saw him as a man who spoke up for the poor and was an outspoken populist. Others viewed him as a terrible person, a white supremacist who encouraged violence.
In time, he changed his views, and said that he was sorry to African-Americans, and other people hurt by segregation. He promoted black equality in his last term as Governor. Despite this, he remains an icon of racism today and many people think of him as one of the most evil figures in American history.
Assassination attempt[change | change source]
During the 1972 presidential campaign, Wallace was shot five times by a would-be assassin, Arthur Bremer. He suffered permanent injury to his spine. He could no longer walk, and spent the rest of his life using a wheelchair.
Later career[change | change source]
Personal life[change | change source]
Wallace was married to Laurleen Wallace until her death. He then married to Corelia Wallace until they divorced. Then he was married to Lisa Taylor until they divorced. He had four children.
Popular Culture[change | change source]
The Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Sweet Home Alabama" has the line "In Birmingham they love the Governor / Boo Boo Boo / Now we all did what we could do / if watergate does not bother me / does your conscience bother you now tell me true." Even though Wallace is not mentioned by name, the line clearly refers to him, and members of the band have confirmed this and have said they disliked Wallace.
Gary Sinise played him in the film George Wallace.
A tunnel on Interstate 10 in Alabama has been named the George Wallace Memorial Tunnel.
Death[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- "George C. Wallace". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. August 25, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
- Greider, William (May 16, 1972). "Wallace Is Shot, Legs Paralyzed; Suspect Seized at Laurel Rally". Washington Post. Retrieved Aug 20, 2013.
- "George Wallace dies, Former Alabama governor made 2 strong bids for president". CNN.com. September 13, 1998. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
Other websites[change | change source]
Media related to George Wallace at Wikimedia Commons
- Governor Wallace's Schoolhouse Door speech archived at the University of Alabama
- George Wallace article at the Encyclopedia of Alabama
- George Wallace - Daily Telegraph obituary
- Oral History Interview with George Wallace from Oral Histories of the American South
- Caught on Tape: The White House Reaction to the Shooting of Alabama Governor and Democratic Presidential Candidate George Wallace from History's News Network: http://hnn.us/articles/45104.html
- George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire PBS American Experience documentary, including complete transcript, teacher tools and links
- Cornelia Wallace's Obituary on Decatur Daily
- Political Graveyard
- Booknotes interview with Stephen Lesher on George Wallace: American Populist, February 27, 1994. Archived February 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine