The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Vivian Malone entering Foster Auditorium through a crowd that includes photographers, National Guard members, and the Deputy U.S. Attorney General. Credit: Library of Congress.

Vivian Malone entering Foster Auditorium through a crowd that includes photographers, National Guard members, and the Deputy U.S. Attorney General. Credit: Library of Congress.

Following Gov. George W. Wallace’s 1962 campaign promise to defend segregation at all costs, “…to the point of standing in the schoolhouse door, if necessary,” he does just that on June, 11, 1963, when three black students—Vivian Malone of Mobile, James Hood of Gadsden, and Dave McGlathery of Huntsville—arrive to register at the University of Alabama.

Given that a federal injunction virtually guaranteed their admission, Wallace’s stonewalling stunt is largely for the benefit of waiting television news cameras and in consideration of his political prospects.

The students’ historic admission followed Autherine Lucy’s unsuccessful 1956 attempt to desegregate the University.