George Wallace - History

George Wallace - History

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George Wallace

1919- 1998


Controversial Southern politician George Wallace was born in Clio, Alabama, into a lower-middle-class family. In 1942, he graduated with a degree in law from the University of Alabama, going on to serve in World War II. From 1953 to 1959, he served as a circuit court judge. Wallace entered politics as a segregationalist Democrat, running successfully for the governorship of Alabama. In his first inaugural speech, he pledged to fight for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever."

In 1963, he achieved a kind of dubious immortality as he stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to block the admission of two black students, in direct defiance of President Kennedy's desegregation order.

Wallace gave in after the state National Guard was federalized. He also opposed desegregated local schools, although he allowed them in the face of a federal court order. In 1965, Wallace tried to prevent the march from Selma to Montgomery. Three years later in 1968 , he campaigned for the Presidency, running as an Independent on a platform that emphasized states' rights and continued US involvement in Vietnam. Wallace received 45 electoral votes and almost 10 million popular votes. While he was running for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1972, he was shot and partially paralyzed.

During the 1970's and 1980's, he began to rethink his earlier positions on race relations, and became more conciliatory towards and more credible to black voters.

Wallace holds the record for serving longest as governor of Alabama: 1963-67, 1971-75; 1975-79 and 1983-87. He was also a powerful force behind the scenes when his first wife, Lurleen Wallace, was governor from 1967-1971.

First Reading: Learning from history. On John Cornyn, George Wallace and Donald Trump

On October 24, 1968, on the eve of a presidential election in a volatile, even traumatic year that has been likened to our own, John Cornyn, now seeking a fourth term in the United States Senate but then a 16-year-old new senior at the American School in Japan, where his father was serving as an officer in the Air Force, made the case for George Wallace for president on the pages of Hanabi, the student newspaper whose name means “fireworks” in Japanese.

Here it is, in its entirety, and, as you will notice, very resonant in its language of our current moment.

George Wallace

In this brief article I would like to bring out the personal beliefs of my candidate and leave it to each individual to resolve within his own mind merits and disadvantages of Mr. Wallace. After close and careful consideration, I am confident that each individual will make the important decision, one that may very well decide he fate of our United States.

I would first like to discuss the most influential problem of the presidential campaign, the question of law and order. Mr. Wallace is convinced that no innocent man should be punished, but no criminal should be let free from the consequences of his criminal act either. Many criminals never receive the punishment due them because they have clever lawyers, or the case takes so long to go through the slow court schedules and lengthy appeals cases. In general, society seems to have developed a leniency and sympathy for the criminals (i.e. murderers, arsonists, rioters, and looters). The sympathy should rightly lie with the innocent who have suffered at the hand of the criminal. The only to prevent this sort of occurrence is a general tightening of the laws governing these areas.

Urban Crisis

In connection with law and order, the question of the urban crisis arrives. The existence of poverty has been fact since the beginning of mankind. Statistics show us that it is not the poor element that riots and rebels, but others who hold complete disrespect for property and the rights of others (socialists?). Legitimate dissent is one of our basic privileges, but not to infringe on others’ rights.

States’ Rights

Another things to be considered this years is states’ rights. Under the constitution certain powers were delegated to the federal government and the state and local legislation was left up to the individual states. This was to limit the power of the federal government. With the Supreme Court’s recent rulings and increased federal legislation the government has become increasingly dictatorial and oppressive while the state and local governments have become more weak. These federal laws give great leeway for appointed officials to give personal interpretations to laws for purposes that are a far cry from the reason those very laws were promulgated. Also, many of the laws made on a national level and enforced on lower levels are inappropriate when the varied population, economic and social conditions for a given area are considered.

Lastly, and probably the foremost problem in the minds of all Americans is our involvement in the Vietnam war. My candidate, Mr. Wallace, is firmly dedicated to the efforts for a long and effective peace in Southeast Asia. As all sane men, he is opposed to this and all wars. At the same time he sees the need for the free choice of government by the Vietnamese people. This must be brought about without further delay. It is but injurious to be less effective than we are able both to those on the battlefield and to those for whom the war is waged. It only seems reasonable that a cure (victory) for this asian illness is most desirable even if the measures necessary are drastic. What reasonable person would maintain that this cancer be allowed to strengthen and spread to the point of malignancy and what would be death for the victim (Vietnam and its people). Our problem today boils down to paralysis by analysis, with the cost of our paralysis being paid in the lives, the decay of social order and fiscal deterioration.

With the continuing concentration of power in the hands of inept Democratic and Republican parties, it is time for a change. You have an opportunity to play a role in this change through your vote. Cast your vote for a stronger America. Vote for George C. Wallace on November 5, 1968.

Recalling again that this was written more than a half century ago by someone too young to vote who is seeking re-election on the strength of his three terms in the Senate and before that service as Texas attorney general and member of the Texas Supreme Court, one might ask why I am bringing this to your attention now.

My answer is that, while I have been covering politics in Texas since December 2012, this was news to me as of two weeks ago, and to most others I mentioned it to. I found it an interesting and perhaps revealing moment in the political coming-of-age of one of the state’s most prominent politicians now seeking the rare privilege of a fourth term in the Senate. I learned about it, as others paying attention to the Senate race did, when state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, one of his potential Democratic rivals, called attention to it to help explain what he viewed as Cornyn’s reticence to lead on issues of race in a fraught moment in American history.

I am also writing about it because, as I quickly learned, when the story of his support in high school for Wallace very briefly became public in Cornyn’s first Senate campaign in 2002, he dismissed it at a Senate debate as nothing more than a class assignment, and it quickly went away as an issue.

I might have also let it drop, but, intrigued by a history of racial politics that echoes today, I got in touch with the former Cornyn classmate who first brought this to public attention in 2002, and then, one by one, with classmates in Tokyo, Honolulu, Santa Cruz, Calif., Jacksonville, Florida, and Gloucester, Virginia, and the general sense, while not unanimous in every respect, was that Cornyn’s support for Wallace was genuine and of his own volition.

In response to that new information, Cornyn’s campaign provided me with a fresh statement from the senator. It reasserted that his advocacy for Wallace was a class assignment, while granting that over that long a period of time, memories may vary.

From John Cornyn: My recollection of this more than 50 year old article is that it was assigned to me as a writing exercise. However, since it was more than 50 years ago, I understand others may remember it differently. Regardless, Texans know me as someone who fights for Americans of all races, backgrounds, and ages. I hope Texans will judge me based on my record of fighting for victims’ rights and criminal justice reform and not on a homework exercise from when I was 16 years old.“

I think that is a fair request, the caution about memories is well taken, and I don’t think anything I write here about what happened then will be or should be determinative of how someone votes in the fall.

But I also think that a teenage political experience can be profoundly formative and should not be not off limits to write about.

After all, it is well known that Hillary Clinton began her political odyssey as a Goldwater girl in 1964.

From a May 2016 Emma Roller column in the New York Times:

In her junior year of high school, the Goldwater campaign tasked Hillary Rodham and her best friend, Betsy Ebeling, with checking for “voter registration fraud” in predominantly poor, black Chicago neighborhoods, according to Mr. (Carl) Bernstein’s book. During her senior year, in 1964, her government teacher staged a mock election, and assigned young Hillary — to her horror — to play the part of Lyndon B. Johnson.

“I immersed myself — for the first time — in President Johnson’s Democratic positions on civil rights, health care, poverty and foreign policy,” Hillary Clinton wrote in her memoir, “Living History.” “As I prepared for the debate, I found myself arguing with more than dramatic fervor.”

After arriving at Wellesley College in 1965, Hillary Rodham joined its Young Republicans Club. But by then, she was a Rockefeller Republican, out of step with most members of her father’s party. Like many college students at that time, she had doubts about the government’s handling of civil rights and the war in Vietnam. By her senior year, the Rockefeller Republican had become a Eugene McCarthy Democrat.

My political worldview was forever defined when I was in eighth grade by the searing events of 1968. Three years later, as a junior in high school, I put out an underground newspaper, the SHLF(R) Shuffler - SHLF(R) being the Study Hall Liberation Front, a satiric revolutionary group I had created - that led to a two-week suspension from school that bled into spring break and, after college, a long career deep into the end times of print journalism. I don’t know whether my journalism career should be judged by the Shuffler, but I do know that the episode says a lot about me.

Like Cornyn in his Hanabi piece on Wallace, I will leave it to each individual to resolve within his own mind what to make of what I am writing here, but I think my reasons for pursuing this line of inquiry are best understood if I revisit how I came to know about this episode.

On the afternoon of June 11, Cornyn held his weekly conference call with Texas reporters. Speaking of the police killing of George Floyd, Cornyn said, “obviously this is a very tragic occurrence which has led to a lot of introspection and reflection.”

In the opening question, Maria Recio, who reports from Washington for the American-Statesman, noted that, amid mounting protests, following Floyd’s death, to remove Confederate symbols across the country, the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense had said they were ready to consider renaming ten Army bases named for Confederate generals, including Fort Hood in Texas. “And then of course, as you know, the president tweeted yesterday, `Well, that’s not going to happen,”’ Recio said.

It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc. These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a.

&mdash Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 10, 2020

. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!

&mdash Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 10, 2020

“Yet also yesterday,” Recio continued, “the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a provision . establishing a commission to look at removing these Confederate symbols not only at the forts, but monuments, street names, all kinds of things.”

“What is your view of this?” Recio asked Cornyn.

Cornyn: Well, Maria, there's no question that America was an imperfect Union when we were founded. We obviously betrayed our own ideals by treating African American as less than fully human. And we've been paying for that original sin ever since then, through the Civil War, through the civil rights struggles in the 60s. And I believe we've made tremendous progress. But I don't think we, we obviously are not where we need to be.

I think one of the most important things about our history is that we learn from it. And you can’t learn from your history if you try to erase it. It is hard to see where this leads.

Now I can see some efforts at the state and local level to, say, move a monument from a state Capitol to a history museum or the like, but I’m just not sure where this leads and to me, one of the most important things we learn about history is what we learn from it, and how we learn not to repeat our mistakes. That’s what George Santayana said. He said, If you forget your history you are condemned to relive it.

Rather than somehow try to remake where we have been, I think it's more important and more constructive for us to think about where we go from here, and obviously we need to remain sensitive to those concerns, going forward, but I don't think we can go back and erase our history by removing statues. And you know what happens next? Somebody says, well you can't teach about the Civil War, or slavery in your textbooks, your history textbooks.

And we've made a lot of mistakes as a race, human race, and as American people, but I think we need to learn from those, and not try to ignore them or erase them.

Recio pointed out that Fort Hood wasn’t even established until the 1940s, named then, at time when the Army was still segregated, for someone who took up arms against the United States.

“Why would we honor a defeated Confederate general?” she asked Cornyn.

Cornyn: To my knowledge, we are not honoring him. It’s a decision, you said, made in the ’40s.

Speaking of the military, it’s one of the best examples of racial integration of any institution in America, so I would hold them up as a model for the rest of the country.

I would just say that I think it’s a mistake to try to look backward. I think we should look forward and see what we can do, what’s within our power to change things going forward. But I don’t agree with going back and trying to rename institutions or pull down statues to try to tear those pages out of our history books that our kids learn in school. I just think that’s not the right orientation.

The senator’s answer sorta sounded like it meant something, with Santayana and all, but, as I tried to track it, it just seemed a rhetorical loop that led nowhere and was mostly intended to offend no one. We should learn from history, not erase it, but if that history teaches us a wrong has been committed, we shouldn’t do anything to rectify it because that would amount to erasing the history from which we must learn but whose lessons we must ignore in the interests of looking to the future and leaving the past alone.

So take for example, John Bell Hood. He was a heroic figure for those who fought to secede from the Union, losing the use of an arm at Gettysburg, and having his leg amputated after Chickamauga. But, why in the world was the United States government nearly 80 years later honoring him by naming a military base for him? Was it simply succor for those who, in the aftermath of the Confederacy’s defeat, did their best to maintain a racial order as closely proximate to what they had lost, replacing it with an elaborate system of racial apartheid actively admired by the Nazis who American soldiers, including black soldiers, were at that very moment fighting around the globe?

In a 2013 piece in the Dallas Morning News- Why Fort Hood Needs a New Name - Jamie Malanowski, the author of "And the War Came," an account of how the Civil War began, noted that General Hood “was quite clear-minded about the cause he had joined.”

In remarks at a Confederate reunion in Charleston seven years after the war, Hood said, “Regardless of all other causes of difference, slavery, for which we were not accountable, was the secret motor, the mainspring of the war.”

The North, Hood said, was fighting for “the freedom of the Negro, and the independence of the Southern Confederacy was the only means to avoid the immediate abolition of slavery.”

Cornyn’s deflection in his answer about Confederate names, properly observing that the military was a shining example of racial progress, only underscored the rationale for renaming bases.

When Fort Hood was named, the Army was segregated, and our views about race more ignorant. Now blacks make up about a fifth of the military. The idea that today we ask any of these soldiers to serve at a place named for a defender of a racist slavocracy is deplorable. Can we really expect any of our soldiers to tell Afghans or Iraqis that they are there for their freedom when they have come from a place named for a man who fought to keep people in bondage?

More important, we simply should not name U.S. Army bases after people who fought the U.S. Army in battle . The gesture honors one man, while it denigrates the struggle and the sacrifice of every U.S. soldier who faced him. It mocks them. It mocks the union they preserved.

Cornyn’s tortured logic did make sense in what has come to be viewed as the perpetual political predicament of a man caught between his own more measured political center of gravity and the political exigencies of the party’s base and especially the imperative of not getting crosswise with President Trump and the whirring helicopter blades of his tweets.

On the conference call with Texas reporters, it was plain I was not the only one left unsatisfied by his response to Recio’s question, because, as the call was about to end, the Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek gave the question about renaming bases one last try.

“Are you against that at this point?”

Cornyn: “I am for looking forward, not backwards for all the reasons I said earlier, and I think that’s the most constructive use of our time and energy and resources, and I also think it’s dangerous to erase your history because you will be condemned to relive it and I think that’s dangerous.”

It was that evening that West, who is competing with MJ Hegar in the July 14 Democratic runoff to face Cornyn, issued a series of tweets pointedly criticizing Cornyn for his failure to step up on the issue of renaming the bases.

Around the same time I was helping integrate my high school, [email protected] Cornyn was supporting the man who famously said, ‘Segregation Now, Segregation Forever.’ It doesn't seem Senator Cornyn's views have changed much since 1968. (See: (2/7)

&mdash Royce West (@RoyceWestTX) June 12, 2020

What really caught my eye was West’s tweet that “this is the kind of logic you would expect from someone whose first foray into politics was as a vocal supporter of George Wallace for president.”

West supported that assertion with a link to a June 2002 piece in the Texas Observer by reporter Tim Shorrock that appeared during Cornyn’s first run for the Senate against former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk,who, like West, is African American.

John Cornyn, George Wallace, and Me

The John Cornyn I knew in high school was a big supporter of George Wallace and seemed oblivious to the dangers of Wallace's racial demagoguery.

I read a couple of weeks ago that John Cornyn had pledged to keep the issue of race out of his upcoming U.S. Senate campaign against African-American Democratic nominee Ron Kirk. That was a relief, because the John Cornyn I knew in high school was a big supporter of George Wallace and seemed oblivious to the dangers of Wallace’s racial demagoguery.

Cornyn a Wallace supporter? Why hasn’t Texas heard about that before? Cornyn and I graduated in 1969 from the American School in Japan, and I guess word of his early dabbling in right-wing politics never reached these shores. Besides, statements like this are not something I’d want to broadcast if I was trying to step into Phil Gramm’s shoes and join George Bush’s team in Washington.

“With the continuing concentration of power in the hands of the inept Democratic and Republican parties, it is time for a change,” Cornyn wrote in our student newspaper just before the 1968 presidential election. “Cast your vote for a strong America. Vote for George C. Wallace on November 5.”

This was startling for me to read. It didn’t sound right. I only arrived in Texas in December 2012, but thought I had somewhat of a fix on Cornyn. Could the cordial, courtly, clubby Cornyn have been drawn as a young man to the pugnacious populist who had built his reputation in defense of segregation and resistance to Black civil rights even if, by his second, and most successful presidential campaign in 1968 - winning five states - he had shed the expressively racist language.

After all, this was Cornyn who, even after all these years in the business still had a conference call with Texas reporters virtually every week in which he would take plenty of questions, without so much as a harangue or complaint I can recall.

The next day, I spoke to Shorrock, who described Cornyn as a very conservative but likable guy with whom he developed an ideologically opposite friendship.

“He wasn’t overtly racist,” Shorrock said. “He wasn’t known for that. He was known for being this stalwart supporter of George Wallace and sort of state’s rights and Vietnam War policies.”

As Shorrock had written in the Texas Observer in 2002:

Before going on, I have to confess: If Cornyn was the conservative in our class, I was the class radical. While he supported Wallace and backed the war in Vietnam, I was for McCarthy and vehemently opposed the war. We were polar opposites politically, but managed to become friends. I’m sure he remembers the time we got trapped in downtown Tokyo during a huge antiwar demonstration that shut down the city’s rail system, and I helped him find his way home.

We came to our politics from very different backgrounds. Cornyn was the son of an Air Force officer who was stationed for two years at the sprawling U.S. air base at Tachikawa. I was one of five children of missionary-educators, and had lived in Tokyo most of my life. My dad was an outspoken critic of the war and was a key organizer of a May 1968 rally near the U.S. Embassy, where 100 American missionaries, college students, and professors called for an end to U.S. bombing and a negotiated peace in Vietnam.

My presence at that march infuriated a lot of my fellow students, who were roughly divided between children of missionaries, business executives, diplomats, and CIA officers. It was a pretty conservative crowd–but slightly left of Cornyn, who had to shrug off laughs, quizzical looks, and worse whenever he stuck up for Wallace. (One of his pro-Wallace speeches was “well presented and convincing, despite the distraction of a few hecklers in the audience,” our paper reported).

As I talked to Shorrock, I began to wonder whether all the fretting by so many observers about Cornyn subsuming his own natural tendencies in service to Trump could possibly be based on a misunderstanding of who the senator was in the first place.

After all, Wallace back in ’68, putting aside the obvious and enormous cultural differences, was, as he is now being described, Trump before Trump.

From Peter Baker June 9 in the New York Times:

President Trump said last month that he had “learned a lot from Richard Nixon,” and many interpreted his hard-line response to the street protests of recent days as a homage of sorts to the 1968 campaign. The president’s Twitter feed has been filled with phrases famous from the Nixon lexicon like “LAW & ORDER” and even “SILENT MAJORITY.”

But if anything, Mr. Trump seems to be occupying the political lane held that year by George Wallace, the segregationist former governor of Alabama who ran as a third-party candidate to the right of Nixon. While he does not share Wallace’s most extreme positions, Mr. Trump is running hard on a combative pro-police, anti-protester platform, appealing to Americans turned off by unrest in the streets.

Mr. Trump’s talk of “shooting” looters, his bellicose denunciation of “thugs” and “terrorists,” his threats to unleash “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” and his vow to call in troops to “dominate” the streets all evoke Wallace’s inflammatory language more than Nixon’s that year. Mr. Trump has offered little empathy for the goals of peaceful protesters against racial injustice, emphasizing instead the sporadic looting and violence even as he has sought to discredit the victims of police brutality.

In the April 26 Atlantic, Jonathan Rauch riffed on the same theme:

It’s George Wallace’s World Now

Wallace never won the presidency, but the base he mobilized has found a home in today’s Republican Party.

The Republican party has been taken over by an unscrupulous populist demagogue. His loyalty is to himself, not to his party or any ideology. He glories in violating political norms. He trashes liberals and government bureaucrats but has no use for limiting the government’s powers—at least, not his own powers. He has no problem with deficit spending, provided he can direct it to his base. He plays on white grievance and inflames racial division, while bragging that many black Americans support him and complaining that liberal bullies play the race card to shut him up. He gleefully attacks intellectuals and experts as enemies of America and common sense. He is not above calling his opponents traitors and hinting that they should be dealt with violently. In a crisis, as at present, he is a genius at finding others to blame. And the more he shocks and blames, the more his supporters love him for speaking forbidden truths and standing up to condescending elites.

The politician I speak of is, of course, George Corley Wallace.

Cornyn’s high school advocacy for Wallace was brought up at an October 18, 2002 Senate debate between Cornyn and Kirk by KHOU correspondent Jerome Gray.

“It has been reported that when you were in high school you spearheaded an effort that advocated the presidential campaign of segregationist George Wallace,” said Gray, asking Cornyn if he had any regrets.

“Well, Jerome, the truth is I was a Nixon man back in high school,” Cornyn replied. “What you are referring to is a project I was assigned in a class. I have worked my entire professional life to make sure that the promise of equal justice under the law is a reality.”

I got in touch with Alan Gleason, the class valedictorian, who lives in Tokyo.

“I’m happy to tell you what I remember of John Cornyn’s advocacy for George Wallace at our school in 1968,” Gleason wrote me. “I was co-editor that year of our high school student newspaper, the Hanabi, and before the U.S. presidential election we ran a feature in which three students were invited to write in support of the three main candidates, Humphrey, Nixon and Wallace. I don’t recall if we invited John to write about Wallace or if he suggested it first, but it was definitely a voluntary choice on his part, not a `class assignment. We student staffers had fairly free rein on the newspaper’s content so there was no `assigning’ by faculty or anyone else of either the topic or its contributors.“

“Reviewing my own copies of the newspaper, which I was able to dig out of storage, I saw that there was, in addition to the newspaper column John wrote about Wallace, an earlier `mock election’ in which students gave speeches in favor of the candidates, and John gave the speech for Wallace at this event too. I don’t remember that event personally, but the article about it (in the Oct. 10, 1968 edition of the Hanabi) suggests the mock election and speeches were organized in association with a class, `Problems of Democracy.’ However, I have no idea if John was `assigned’ to give that speech or volunteered. In any event, his article in favor of Wallace in the Oct. 24, 1968 edition of the paper, under `Student Forum,’ was entirely voluntary. I had no reason to think then, or think now, that the article reflects anything other than his own personal opinions.”

I also reached classmate Sam Kimball in Jacksonville where he is an English professor at the University of North Florida.

“I remember the mock election that the students in `Problems in Democracy’ (POD) class at ASIJ (the American School in Japan) conducted in November 1968. I was in the POD class and played a major role in helping to organize and run our school-wide event, to collect ballots, and to confirm the voting. On October 10, 1968, the student newspaper Hanabi included a front-page article (featuring photos of me and John Cornyn) reporting on the mock election our POD class would be holding and on the speeches John and I gave.”

“I volunteered to speak in support of Humphrey, John Cornyn volunteered to speak on behalf of Wallace. Those of us who advocated for one candidate or another, either as part of the POD course or in our social interactions with classmates outside of class, did so by choice.“

I reached Michael Homfeld, a classmate who now lives in Gloucester, Virginia, and whose father was headmaster of the school when they were there.

“What I can tell you that I know exactly, for sure, for certain, was that he was a Wallace supporter back in the day,” Homfeld told me about Cornyn. “That wasn’t anything to do with a class or anything like that. We were all kind of appalled. That was ’68. It was Vietnam, We were all kind of against the war, segregation and for civil rights.“

Homfeld said he and Cornyn had a competitive relationship in school. They wrestled against one another. He said he was first chair trombone to Cornyn’s third chair trombone in the school’s well-regarded jazz band. (He said Cornyn could have been second chair, but he thinks he was third.)

It was also Homfeld who wrote the piece in Hanabi supporting Nixon, alongside Cornyn’s for Wallace, though Homfeld was astonished to be reminded of that.

“I can’t believe I wrote that article about Nixon,” he wrote me. “I’ll chalk it up to youthful temporary insanity.”

These days Homfeld is angry at Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for what they are doing to the country, and Cornyn for enabling them.

“I’d do anything I can to put a little chink in his armor,” he said.

But Larry Blood, Hanabi co-editor in 1968, who lives in Santa Cruz, cautioned against making anything of what Cornyn wrote way back when.

“As much as I would like to see a turnover in the Senate, I’m not sure what real use this has for you,” Blood wrote me. “Yes, John Cornyn may have written this piece because he held some of the most conservative views in the student body at ASIJ at that time. Did he view writing the piece as filling the need so we could have support for all candidates including 3rd party candidate Wallace in the Student Forum, or did he actually embrace Wallace’s views? I can’t say at this point. I can concur with Alan (Gleason) that no one could have assigned Cornyn to write this piece against his will. Also, though it is pretty well accepted that Wallace was racist in his overall views, Cornyn does not specifically address that side of Wallace in his piece.”

“Perhaps more relevant would be close scrutiny of Cornyn’s voting record and/or record of support of Trump and the administration’s at best questionable record on the Black Lives Matter movement and racial justice in America,” Blood wrote me. “His desire to resist changing names of military bases at a point when we are experiencing a sea change in public views on this issue may speak for itself.”

Ken Kroehler, who wrote the piece alongside Cornyn’s in support of Humphrey, said that while his endorsement closely matched his own point of view, he can’t say what Cornyn was thinking when he wrote his Wallace endorsement.

In the Problems of Democracy class, from which the campaign speeches emanated, Kroehler, who now lives in Hawaii said, “It was an assignment to sharpen our minds and try to defend our candidates, and in that spirit, I’m a staunch Democrat, I’m a Biden supporter,” but, he said, if at any point he and Cornyn could reunite on the American School campus in Tokyo, “I would be happy to try to defend Trump if he would defend Biden in the spirit of the class.”

I also got in touch with Wallace biographer Dan T. Carter, professor emeritus at the University of South Carolina. I sent him a copy of what Cornyn had written in favor of Wallace, and filled him in on what I had learned about the background and context. He sent me this reply:

It is hard to read too much into a few hundred words by a high school senior. And I don't know what I would have expected of a high school senior--even one sophisticated enough to be at an international school abroad. I do know that, even if I had completed an assignment for a teacher, I would never have agreed to have my views published if I didn't agree with them.

I suspect that the co-editors are correct: he wasn't an overt racist. On the other hand, you would have had to be pretty dumb (which I don't think he was) not to realize that George Wallace's horrendous history and his statements dealing with race extended far beyond a vague commitment to "law and order." So I guess my judgement would be that he has been true to what is now a half -century tradition in which many conservatives have turned a blind eye to the underlying history and structures of institutional racism and accepted the position that--if you doesn't use the "N" word openly, or explicitly express overt racism--you're color-blind. To which my response is always the same: you may think you're color blind, but you're really just blind to reality.

On Friday, June 12, the day after the conference call with Texas reporters, Cornyn, in Dallas, shifted his position to support a Senate plan to establish a commission to rename Fort Hood and the other nine military bases named after Confederate military leaders.

In Dallas today, Sen. Cornyn announced he plans to support the provision in NDAA establishing a commission to rename Fort Hood and the nation's 9 other military bases named after Confederate military leaders.

&mdash Drew Brandewie (@DBrandewie) June 12, 2020

On Friday, however, Cornyn told reporters in Dallas he had a partial change of heart since learning of the bipartisan committee vote to consider the post name changes.

“I think that’s the appropriate way to handle it,” he said. “I realize these are contentious issues. What I don’t want us to do is try to erase our history because frankly, if you forget your history you’re condemned to relive it, in the words of one wise person, and I think that’s true. So, I think the Commission is the appropriate way for us to address the concerns about our military bases.”

Recio also noted that, “Cornyn is one of a half-dozen Republicans named by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to a task force, headed by the Senate’s only black Republican, Tim Scott, R-S.C., to develop a police reform proposal to counter the one unveiled by House Democrats.”

Last week, on the eve of Juneteenth, Cornyn announced he would be introducing a bipartisan bill to make the emancipation celebration a national holiday.

But two days earlier, on June 16, Cornyn was involved in a telling exchange at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as retold by Washington Post reporter Eugene Scott.

A conversation between a Republican lawmaker and the leader of a civil rights group at Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Hearing on policing reform showcased a common and persistent misunderstanding about implicit bias and how it impacts American society. It also provided a public illustration of why some, particularly some white Americans and conservatives, have a hard time accepting the existence of systemic racism in the United States, and thus, acknowledging how that affects the justice system.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) spent a significant part of his time asking the witness panel to share their thoughts on the prevalence of racism. After asking whether the panel believed there is systemic racism, and asking if it was poverty broadly rather than race that put certain Americans at a disadvantage, Cornyn zeroed in on a response by Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who said, “I don’t think there’s an institution in this country that isn’t suffering from structural racism, given our history.”

Cornyn took some umbrage at Gupta’s response, and the exchange that followed gets to the crux of why it’s still hard to get on the same page about how to resolve these issues.

Cornyn: You changed the phrase from systemic to structural racism. What does that mean? That means everything? Every institution? Every person in America is a racist?

Gupta: It means that there is bias built into existing institutions. There have been any number of courageous police who have spoken about systemic racism in history as well.

Cornyn: You think systemic or structural racism can exist in a system that requires individual responsibility. Or do you think it is one or the other?

Gupta: I think every American institution has been shaped by these forces and our goal is to do what we can as policymakers, as advocates to take that out and try to fight it in the modern-day iterations that it appears.

Cornyn: Do you agree basically that all Americans are racists?

Gupta: I think we all have implicitly bias and racial biases. Yes, I do.

Gupta. I think we are an amazing country that strives to be better every day. That’s why I went into government, to make a more perfect union.

Cornyn: You lost me when you want to take the acts of a few misguided, perhaps malicious individuals and subscribe that to all Americans, not just our 800,000 police officers, our 18,000 police departments. Thank you for your answer.

’He’s a smart guy and a very civil person in person but he clearly does not understand the depths of racism and problems of race,“ Shorrock said, when I called him to thank him for sending me an image of Cornyn’s page in Shorrock’s yearbook. On graduation day, the last time they saw each other, Cornyn had written on the page: “Good luck among your fellow left-wingers at Earlham. Just don’t burn down too many buildings and put up too many red flags.”

Earlham is the Quaker school where Shorrock went to college.

Cornyn’s yearbook page was otherwise adorned with a quote from Marmion by Sir Walter Scott: “For may we search before we find a heart so manly and so kind.” And some words apparently meant to evoke Cornyn’s essence: “a true gentleman . Southerner . Texas . white shoes . heavy-weight wrestler . giggle . blush . unconscious humor . ”You left-wingers!“ . ”dadgum!“

Another classmate had sent me the page from the June 11, 1969, issue of Hanabi with Senior Predictions.

Shorrock asked me what the prediction was for Cornyn.

“Conservative Senator from Texas,” I told him.

“That’s pretty damn good,” he said. “I might have written that. Seriously. I wrote a lot of those.”


When George Wallace was sworn in for his first term as governor of Alabama in 1962, he defiantly stated his fighting creed: "Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!" Twenty years later, though, he was elected to his fourth term with fully one-third of the black vote. The electoral durability of Wallace, who died Sunday at age 79, was a testament to his vast adaptability and to the willingness of Americans to give anyone a second chance.

His life could have been taken from a novel: A farm boy who worked his way through law school by boxing professionally, he rose to dominate his state's political scene for a quarter of a century--first as a combative symbol of Deep South resistance to the civil rights revolution and then as the wheelchair-bound advocate of racial reconciliation.

In between, Wallace ran for president in 1968 as the nominee of the American Independent Party, getting 13 percent of the vote and 46 electoral votes. Then, running in the Democratic presidential primaries in 1972, he was shot by a would-be assassin and left paralyzed from the waist down.

Despite his incendiary rhetoric, Wallace's commitment to Jim Crow was opportunistic, not principled. In his first race for governor, in 1958, he won the endorsement of the NAACP--and, not by coincidence, lost the election. Wallace complained that his opponent had "out-segged" him, and vowed never to let it happen again. He made good on that ominous pledge when he became governor--decrying the "tyranny" of federal efforts to enforce racial equality, closing public schools to prevent their integration and personally blocking the way of two black students when they tried to register at the all-white University of Alabama.

Although Wallace won many elections, he lost all these battles. Blacks gained the rights they had long been denied, and he was forced to adapt his approach to the political realities of a state where blacks constitute 25 percent of the population. When he returned to politics in 1982 after a four-year respite, candidate Wallace had to renounce his past stands on race--and upon being elected, appointed two blacks to his cabinet.

In his last years, he worried about his place in history. He had good reason. The Wallace of the 1980s and 1990s didn't inspire the fear and loathing of his earlier incarnation, but if future generations remember him, it will be mostly for the great harm he did on behalf of a deservedly lost cause.

(1963) George Wallace, “Segregation Now, Segregation Forever”

By 1963 Alabama Governor George Corley Wallace had emerged as the leading opponent to the growing civil rights movement. Six months later he gained international notoriety for his stand in the door of the University of Alabama to block the entrance of two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, who had been order admitted by a federal judge. Between 1964 and 1976 Wallace ran for President four times (three as a Democrat and once as an Independent) exploiting what he believed was a deep-seated aversion to racial integration among Northerners as well as Southerners. Long before these events, he would at his inauguration as Governor on January 14, 1963, lay out his opposition to integration and the civil rights movement. His excerpted speech appears below.

Today I have stood, where once Jefferson Davis stood, and took an oath to my people. It is very appropriate then that from this Cradle of the Confederacy, this very Heart of the Great Anglo-Saxon Southland, that today we sound the drum for freedom as have our generations of forebears before us done, time and time again through history. Let us rise to the call of freedom- loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny . . . and I say . . . segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever.

The Washington, D.C. school riot report is disgusting and revealing. We will not sacrifice our children to any such type school system–and you can write that down. The federal troops in Mississippi could be better used guarding the safety of the citizens of Washington, D.C., where it is even unsafe to walk or go to a ballgame–and that is the nation’s capitol. I was safer in a B-29 bomber over Japan during the war in an air raid, than the people of Washington are walking to the White House neighborhood. A closer example is Atlanta. The city officials fawn for political reasons over school integration and THEN build barricades to stop residential integration–what hypocrisy!

Let us send this message back to Washington by our representatives who are with us today– that from this day we are standing up, and the heel of tyranny does not fit the neck of an upright man . . . that we intend to take the offensive and carry our fight for freedom across the nation, wielding the balance of power we know we possess in the Southland . . . . that WE, not the insipid bloc of voters of some sections . . will determine in the next election who shall sit in the White House of these United States . . . That from this day, from this hour . . . from this minute . . . we give the word of a race of honor that we will tolerate their boot in our face no longer . . . . and let those certain judges put that in their opium pipes of power and smoke it for what it is worth.

Hear me, Southerners! You sons and daughters who have moved north and west throughout this nation . . . . we call on you from your native soil to join with us in national support and vote . . and we know . . . wherever you are . . away from the hearths of the Southland . . . that you will respond, for though you may live in the fartherest reaches of this vast country . . . . your heart has never left Dixieland.

And you native sons and daughters of old New England’s rock-ribbed patriotism . . . and you sturdy natives of the great Mid-West . . and you descendants of the far West flaming spirit of pioneer freedom . . we invite you to come and be with us . . for you are of the Southern spirit . . and the Southern philosophy . . . you are Southerners too and brothers with us in our fight.

What I have said about segregation goes double this day . . . and what I have said to or about some federal judges goes TRIPLE this day…

And while the manufacturing industries of free enterprise have been coming to our state in increasing numbers, attracted by our bountiful natural resources, our growing numbers of skilled workers and our favorable conditions, their present rate of settlement here can be increased from the trickle they now represent to a stream of enterprise and endeavor, capital and expansion that can join us in our work of development and enrichment of the educational futures of our children, the opportunities of our citizens and the fulfillment of our talents as God has given them to us. To realize our ambitions and to bring to fruition our dreams, we as Alabamians must take cognizance of the world about us. We must re-define our heritage, re-school our thoughts in the lessons our forefathers knew so well, first hand, in order to function and to grow and to prosper. We can no longer hide our head in the sand and tell ourselves that the ideology of our free fathers is not being attacked and is not being threatened by another idea . . . for it is. We are faced with an idea that if a centralized government assume enough authority, enough power over its people, that it can provide a utopian life . . that if given the power to dictate, to forbid, to require, to demand, to distribute, to edict and to judge what is best and enforce that will produce only “good” . . and it shall be our father . . . . and our God. . . .

We find we have replaced faith with fear . . . and though we may give lip service to the Almighty . . in reality, government has become our god. It is, therefore, a basically ungodly government and its appeal to the psuedo-intellectual and the politician is to change their status from servant of the people to master of the people . . . to play at being God . . . without faith in God . . . and without the wisdom of God. It is a system that is the very opposite of Christ for it feeds and encourages everything degenerate and base in our people as it assumes the responsibilities that we ourselves should assume. Its psuedo-liberal spokesmen and some Harvard advocates have never examined the logic of its substitution of what it calls “human rights” for individual rights, for its propaganda play on words has appeal for the unthinking. Its logic is totally material and irresponsible as it runs the full gamut of human desires . . . including the theory that everyone has voting rights without the spiritual responsibility of preserving freedom. Our founding fathers recognized those rights . . . but only within the framework of those spiritual responsibilities. But the strong, simple faith and sane reasoning of our founding fathers has long since been forgotten as the so-called “progressives” tell us that our Constitution was written for “horse and buggy” days . . . so were the Ten Commandments.

Not so long ago men stood in marvel and awe at the cities, the buildings, the schools, the autobahns that the government of Hitler’s Germany had built . . . just as centuries before they stood in wonder of Rome’s building . . . but it could not stand . . . for the system that built it had rotted the souls of the builders . . . and in turn . . . rotted the foundation of what God meant that men should be. Today that same system on an international scale is sweeping the world. It is the “changing world” of which we are told . . . it is called “new” and “liberal”. It is as old as the oldest dictator. It is degenerate and decadent. As the national racism of Hitler’s Germany persecuted a national minority to the whim of a national majority . . . so the international racism of the liberals seek to persecute the international white minority to the whim of the international colored majority . . . so that we are footballed about according to the favor of the Afro-Asian bloc. But the Belgian survivors of the Congo cannot present their case to a war crimes commission . . . nor the Portuguese of Angola . . . nor the survivors of Castro . . . nor the citizens of Oxford, Mississippi.

It is this theory of international power politic that led a group of men on the Supreme Court for the first time in American history to issue an edict, based not on legal precedent, but upon a volume, the editor of which said our Constitution is outdated and must be changed and the writers of which, some had admittedly belonged to as many as half a hundred communist-front organizations. It is this theory that led this same group of men to briefly bare the ungodly core of that philosophy in forbidding little school children to say a prayer. And we find the evidence of that ungodliness even in the removal of the words “in God we trust” from some of our dollars, which was placed there as like evidence by our founding fathers as the faith upon which this system of government was built. It is the spirit of power thirst that caused a President in Washington to take up Caesar’s pen and with one stroke of it make a law. A Law which the law making body of Congress refused to pass . . . a law that tells us that we can or cannot buy or sell our very homes, except by his conditions . . . and except at HIS descretion. It is the spirit of power thirst that led the same President to launch a full offensive of twenty-five thousand troops against a university . . . of all places . . . in his own country . . . and against his own people, when this nation maintains only six thousand troops in the beleagured city of Berlin. We have witnessed such acts of “might makes right” over the world as men yielded to the temptation to play God . . . but we have never before witnessed it in America. We reject such acts as free men. We do not defy, for there is nothing to defy . . . since as free men we do not recognize any government right to give freedom . . . or deny freedom. No government erected by man has that right. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time no King holds the right of liberty in his hands.” Nor does any ruler in American government….

We intend, quite simply, to practice the free heritage as bequeathed to us as sons of free fathers. We intend to re-vitalize the truly new and progressive form of government that is less that two hundred years old . . . a government first founded in this nation simply and purely on faith . . . that there is a personal God who rewards good and punishes evil . . . that hard work will receive its just deserts . . . that ambition and ingenuity and incentiveness . . . and profit of such . . .are admirable traits and goals . . . that the individual is encouraged in his spiritual growth and from that growth arrives at a character that enhances his charity toward others and from that character and that charity so is influenced business, and labor and farmer and government. We intend to renew our faith as God-fearing men . . . not government-fearing men nor any other kind of fearing-men. We intend to roll up our sleeves and pitch in to develop this full bounty God has given us . . . to live full and useful lives and in absolute freedom from all fear. Then can we enjoy the full richness of the Great American Dream. . . .

This nation was never meant to be a unit of one . . . but a united of the many . . . . that is the exact reason our freedom loving forefathers established the states, so as to divide the rights and powers among the states, insuring that no central power could gain master government control.

In united effort we were meant to live under this government . . . whether Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, or whatever one’s denomination or religious belief . . . each respecting the others right to a separate denomination . . . each, by working to develop his own, enriching the total of all our lives through united effort. And so it was meant in our political lives . . . whether Republican, Democrat, Prohibition, or whatever political party . . . each striving from his separate political station . . . respecting the rights of others to be separate and work from within their political framework . . . and each separate political station making its contribution to our lives . . . .

And so it was meant in our racial lives . . . each race, within its own framework has the freedom to teach . . to instruct . . to develop . . to ask for and receive deserved help from others of separate racial stations. This is the great freedom of our American founding fathers . . . but if we amalgamate into the one unit as advocated by the communist philosophers . . . then the enrichment of our lives . . . the freedom for our development . . . is gone forever. We become, therefore, a mongrel unit of one under a single all powerful government . . . and we stand for everything . . . and for nothing.

The true brotherhood of America, of respecting the separateness of others . . . and uniting in effort . . . has been so twisted and distorted from its original concept that there is a small wonder that communism is winning the world.

We invite the negro citizens of Alabama to work with us from his separate racial station . . . as we will work with him . . . to develop, to grow in individual freedom and enrichment. We want jobs and a good future for BOTH races . . . the tubercular and the infirm. This is the basic heritage of my religion, if which I make full practice . . . . for we are all the handiwork of God.

But we warn those, of any group, who would follow the false doctrine of communistic amalgamation that we will not surrender our system of government . . . our freedom of race and religion . . . that freedom was won at a hard price and if it requires a hard price to retain it . . . we are able . . . and quite willing to pay it.

The liberals’ theory that poverty, discrimination and lack of opportunity is the cause of communism is a false theory . . . if it were true the South would have been the biggest single communist bloc in the western hemisphere long ago . . . for after the great War Between the States, our people faced a desolate land of burned universities, destroyed crops and homes, with manpower depleted and crippled, and even the mule, which was required to work the land, was so scarce that whole communities shared one animal to make the spring plowing. There were no government handouts, no Marshall Plan aid, no coddling to make sure that our people would not suffer instead the South was set upon by the vulturous carpetbagger and federal troops, all loyal Southerners were denied the vote at the point of bayonet, so that the infamous, illegal 14th Amendment might be passed. There was no money, no food and no hope of either. But our grandfathers bent their knee only in church and bowed their head only to God. . . .

We remind all within hearing of this Southland that a Southerner, Peyton Randolph, presided over the Continental Congress in our nation’s beginning . . . that a Southerner, Thomas Jefferson, wrote the Declaration of Independence, that a Southerner, George Washington, is the Father of our country . . . that a Southerner, James Madison, authored our Constitution, that a Southerner, George Mason, authored the Bill of Rights and it was a Southerner who said, “Give me liberty . . . . . . or give me death,” Patrick Henry.
Southerners played a most magnificent part in erecting this great divinely inspired system of freedom . . . and as God is our witnesses, Southerners will save it.

Let us, as Alabamians, grasp the hand of destiny and walk out of the shadow of fear . . . and fill our divine destination. Let us not simply defend . . . but let us assume the leadership of the fight and carry our leadership across this nation. God has placed us here in this crisis . . . let is not fail in this . . . our most historical moment.

Electoral history of George Wallace

Electoral history of George Wallace, 48th Governor of Alabama (1963–1967, 1971–1979, 1983–1987), 1968 American Independent Party Presidential nominee and candidate for 1964, 1972 and 1976 Democratic Party presidential nomination

Alabama House of Representatives, 1946, Barbour County, Second Representative [1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Wallace 1,526 100%
Governor of Alabama, 1958, Democratic Primary [2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Malcolm Patterson 196,859 31.8%
Democratic George Wallace 162,435 26.3%
Democratic Jimmy Faulkner 91,512 14.8%
Democratic A.W. Todd 59,240 9.6%
Democratic Laurie C. Battle 38,955 6.3%
Democratic George Hawkins 24,332 3.9%
None Others 45,349
Governor of Alabama, 1958, Democratic Primary Runoff [3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Malcolm Patterson 315,353 55.7%
Democratic George Wallace 250,451 44.3%
Governor of Alabama, 1962, Democratic Primary [4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Wallace 207,062 32.5%
Democratic Ryan DeGraffenried Sr. 160,704 25.2%
Democratic Jim Folsom 159,640 25.1%
Democratic MacDonald Gallion 80,374 12.6%
Democratic Bull Connor 23,019 3.6%
Democratic J. Bruce Henderson 3,666 0.6%
Democratic Wayne Jennings 1,946 0.31
Democratic Albert Boutwell 862 0.1
Governor of Alabama, 1962, Democratic Primary Runoff [4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Wallace 340,730 55.9%
Democratic Ryan DeGraffenried Sr. 269,122 44.1%
Governor of Alabama, 1962 [5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Wallace 303,987 96.27%
Independent Frank P. Walls 11,789 3.7%
    – 1,693,813 (27.26%) (inc.) – 1,106,999 (17.82%) – 798,431 (12.85%)
  • George Wallace – 672,984 (10.83%) – 522,405 (8.41%) – 493,619 (7.94%) – 376,023 (6.05%) – 267,106 (4.30%) – 131,432 (2.12%)
  • Unpledged delegates – 81,614 (1.31%) – 36,258 (0.58%)
    – 2,914,933 (38.73%) – 2,305,148 (30.63%) – 549,140 (7.30%) (inc.) – 383,590 (5.10%) – 380,286 (5.05%) – 238,700 (3.17%) – 236,242 (3.14%) – 166,463 (2.21%)
  • Unpledged delegates – 161,143 (2.14%) – 128,899 (1.71%)
  • George Wallace – 34,489 (0.46%)
    – 1,760 (67.43%) – 601 (23.03%) – 147 (5.63%) – 68 (2.61%) – 18 (0.69%) – 13 (0.50%) – 1 (0.04%) – 1 (0.04%)
  • George Wallace – 1 (0.04%)
    – 4,121,372 (25.77%) – 4,053,451 (25.34%)
  • George Wallace – 3,755,424 (23.48%) – 1,840,217 (11.51%) – 553,990 (3.46%) – 505,198 (3.16%) – 430,703 (2.69%) – 331,415 (2.07%) – 196,406 (1.23%) – 79,446 (0.50%) – 37,401 (0.23%) – 21,217 (0.13%)
  • Unpledged delegates – 19,533 (0.12%) – 16,693 (0.10%) – 11,798 (0.07%) – 8,286 (0.05%)
    – 1,729 (57.37%) – 525 (17.42%)
  • George Wallace – 382 (12.67%) – 152 (5.04%) – 78 (2.59%) – 67 (2.22%) – 34 (1.13%) – 25 (0.83%) – 13 (0.43%) – 5 (0.17%) – 2 (0.07%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%)
    – 1,742 (59.07%) – 405 (13.73%) – 226 (7.66%) – 108 (3.66%) – 74 (2.51%) – 62 (2.10%) – 57 (1.93%) – 30 (1.02%) – 20 (0.68%) – 19 (0.64%) – 18 (0.61%) – 15 (0.51%) – 14 (0.48%) – 11 (0.37%) – 10 (0.34%) – 9 (0.31%) – 8 (0.27%) – 8 (0.27%) – 5 (0.17%) – 5 (0.17%) – 5 (0.17%) – 5 (0.17%) – 4 (0.14%) – 4 (0.14%) – 4 (0.14%) – 4 (0.14%) – 4 (0.14%) – 3 (0.10%) – 3 (0.10%) – 3 (0.10%) – 3 (0.10%) – 3 (0.10%) – 2 (0.07%) – 2 (0.07%) – 2 (0.07%) – 2 (0.07%) – 2 (0.07%) – 2 (0.07%) – 2 (0.07%) – 2 (0.07%) – 2 (0.07%) – 2 (0.07%) – 2 (0.07%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%)
  • Michael Griffin – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%) – 1 (0.03%)
  • George Wallace – 1 (0.03%)

American Independent Party National Convention, 1972 (Presidential tally): [15]

George Wallace on segregation, 1964

In 1958, George Wallace ran against John Patterson in his first gubernatorial race. In that Alabama election, Wallace refused to make race an issue, and he declined the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan. This move won Wallace the support of the NAACP. Patterson, on the other hand, embraced Klan support, and he trounced Wallace in the election. In 1962 Wallace, having realized the power of race as a political tool, ran for governor again—this time as a proponent of segregation. He won by a landslide.

In 1964, Wallace decided to make a run for the presidency as a Democratic candidate. The first Democratic primary was held in Wisconsin. Local politicians treated Wallace’s candidacy as a joke, but Wallace shocked his critics when he received 266,000 votes—one-third of the 780,000 votes cast. On April 8, one day after the Wisconsin primary, Michigan resident Ms. Martin wrote to Wallace asking him for literature on segregation.

The sentiments expressed in Wallace’s reply stand in stark contrast to the reality of race relations in Alabama during his time as governor. Between the time of Wallace’s inauguration and his correspondence with Martin, Alabama had seen the bombings in Birmingham as well as Wallace’s face-off with federal forces over the integration of the University of Alabama.

Despite growing conflict over race and civil rights, Wallace wrote Martin that "we have never had a problem in the South except in a few very isolated instances and these have been the result of outside agitators." Wallace asserted that "I personally have done more for the Negroes of the State of Alabama than any other individual," citing job creation and the salaries of black teachers in Alabama. He rationalized segregation as "best for both races," writing that "they each prefer their own pattern of society, their own churches and their own schools." Wallace assured Martin that Alabamans were satisfied with society as it was and that the only "major friction" was created by "outside agitators." Increasing racial violence and the Civil Rights Movement, however, pointed toward a changing equilibrium in race relations in Alabama.

A full transcript is available.


White and colored have lived together in the South for generations in peace and equanimity. They each prefer their own pattern of society, their own churches and their own schools—which history and experience have proven are best for best for both races. (As stated before, outside agitators have created any major friction occurring between the races.) This is true and applies to other areas as well. People who move to the south from sections where there is not a large negro population soon realize and are most outspoken in favor of our customs once they learn for themselves that our design for living is the best for all concerned.

Opinion : How segregationist George Wallace became a model for racial reconciliation: ‘Voices of the Movement’ Episode 6

REP. BARBARA LEE: George Wallace was the epitome of an oppressor. He was the epitome of the legacy of a slave master, and this man kept my people down.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Hi, I’m Jonathan Capehart and this is “Voices of the Movement,” a series from my podcast “Cape Up” sharing the stories and lessons of some of the leaders of the civil rights movement — and using them to figure out where we go from here.

Our story this week is one of compassion and new beginnings. It’s about building bridges.

And it’s about George Wallace.

Yes, that George Wallace — 45th governor of Alabama, known as the man who during his 1963 inaugural address said, “Segregation now. Segregation tomorrow. And segregation forever.”

The man who the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once called the “most dangerous racist in America.”

George Wallace was the embodiment of resistance to the civil rights movement.

But George Wallace is also the man who in 1982, ran for governor for a fourth and final term and won . . . 90 percent of the black vote.

To understand how this happened, you have to start with Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, and the story of how she got into politics.

I talked to her about this as we stood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge — made infamous by the horror of Bloody Sunday.

LEE: I never registered to vote. I was a black-student union president working as a community worker for the Black Panther Party, and made a decision early on not to register to vote because I didn’t think politics made a difference in my life or in the lives of my people.

My mother was one of the first 12 African American students to integrate the University of Texas at El Paso. My dad was in the military and we tried to go to restaurants to eat . . . in his uniform, and they would say I’m sorry we don’t serve . . . and would use the n-word. And so I grew up in the system of oppression and humiliation and segregation and Jim Crow.

CAPEHART: Lee was attending Mills College in Oakland, Calif., as the 1972 presidential campaign was heating up.

LEE: I had a class . . . it was class and government and part of our work was to work in a field campaign for one of the candidates. Well, I told my professor flunk me because I’m not gonna work in any of the campaigns. McGovern, Muskie, Humphrey, no way.

CAPEHART: If you listened to the last episode, you know there was one candidate Lee could consider.

Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress and the first of her race and gender to run for president. So, Lee invited Chisholm to speak to the black-student union.

LEE: And I went up told her about my class that I was about ready to flunk because I couldn’t work in any of these other guys campaigns, and maybe I would consider working in hers.

And she shook her finger at me and said, “Little girl.” Here I was raising two little kids. I was in my 20s by then. She says, “Are you registered to vote?” I said, “no.” She looked at me like “you must register to vote, first of all, to get involved in politics,” she says. “I’m leaving it up to my local supporters to help me with my campaign.”

So I went back to my class, I asked my professor and she says, “Hey, that's up to you. That's part of the course work.” Bottom line is, I ended up organizing [Chisholm’s] Northern California campaign from my class at Mills College. I went to Miami as a delegate and got an A in the class.

Now, remember, I was very and still am very idealistic, and I thought Shirley Chisholm was the epitome of what a president should be.

CAPEHART: There was another candidate running for president that year who we haven’t mentioned.

George Wallace. The governor of Alabama who was serving a second term that he had won on a deeply racist platform.

LEE: George Wallace was the epitome of an oppressor. So here this man, who was running for president, was like the descendant of a slave owner. And it was obnoxious to me that America . . . I thought we had come a long way even when schools were desegregated, I thought that was a major step in the ’50s. But now here we were dealing with, in the early ’70s, the reemergence of what I thought was the old Jim Crow that we thought we were working toward ending.

CAPEHART: George Wallace was reviled in the black community, and revered in the white, segregationist community.

During the pilgrimage to Alabama this year, his daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, gave a speech at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery about when that all began to change.

PEGGY WALLACE KENNEDY: When I was young, living back in Clayton, Ala., my father, George Wallace, was always on the move — too much to do to sit down. He wore out the soles of his shoes, almost every month. “Peggy Sue you need to keep up,” he’d say as we walked home from church. He thought better. Talked better, loved life better, when he and his shoes were moving.

On May 15, 1972, Daddy jumped up from the breakfast table with a glass of milk in his hand. “Where are you going?” I said. “To Maryland,” he said. “Have two stops then right back home. Tell the ladies in the kitchen to fix a nice dinner for us. And make sure they have enough ketchup,” he said, as he gave me a kiss and a sideways hug. The mansion door, kitchen door, opened then shut. I heard daddy walking down the concrete steps. Then over to the car. “Let’s go fellas,” he said to his guards and driver. “We have to stop two stops on the schedule. Last one is Laurel, Maryland.”

A little after 3 p.m. at the Laurel shopping center in Laurel, Maryland., Daddy was shot five times. One of the bullets lodged in his spine.

CAPEHART: Wallace was shot by Arthur Bremer while on the campaign trail. In diaries later found by the police, Bremer detailed how he wanted to become famous by assassinating President [Richard M.] Nixon. But when that plan seemed too difficult, George Wallace was the next best thing.

WALLACE KENNEDY: The following afternoon, I stood by my daddy’s bedside when he was told he would never walk again. No more climbing fences. No more standing up. No more rushing out the door. No new soles on his shoes. One pair for the rest of his life would be all he needed. Our journey ahead, he could no longer walk along. Had to be saved by someone other than himself.

CAPEHART: Barbara Lee was campaigning for Shirley Chisholm at the time. She was organizing the Northern California campaign from her class at Mills College.

LEE: And then the campaign was suspended. And it was suspended so [Chisholm] could go visit George Wallace, the segregationist who was shot, and he was in the hospital in Alabama. I said, “What? No way!”

WALLACE KENNEDY: Her decision to visit Daddy in the hospital was met with surprise and consternation.

LEE: So all of the optimism that I had about this candidate, I don’t say went away, but I put it on hold.

WALLACE KENNEDY: One of her staff members was adamantly opposed to Shirley Chisholm’s decision to temporarily suspend her campaign to visit George Wallace but she did.

LEE: I just could not believe it. How in the world could this woman, this black woman, go visit this horrible individual?

WALLACE KENNEDY: When Congresswoman Chisholm sat by my daddy’s bed, he asked her, “What are your people going to say about your coming here?” Shirley Chisholm replied, “I know what they’re going to say but I wouldn’t want what happened to you to happen to anyone.” Daddy was overwhelmed by her truth, and her willingness to face the potential negative consequences of her political career because of him — something he had never done for anyone else.

LEE: I said, “Miss C.” We called her Miss C. or Shirley. “How could you do that? I mean this man. First of all, he’s running against you. And secondly, he’s running for president. And thirdly, he’s a segregationist and he’s trying to maintain the status quo that you’re trying to change." And once again, she shook her finger at me. She said, “Little girl,” she says, “C’mon now, you’re working with me in my campaign, helping me,” she said. “But sometimes we have to remember we’re all human beings, and I may be able to teach him something, to help him regain his humanity, to maybe make him open his eyes to make him see something that he has not seen.” She said, “So you know you always have to be optimistic that people can change, and that you can change and that one act of kindness may make all the difference in the world,” she said. “So yes I know people are angry,” — it wasn’t just me. She says, “I know people are really angry,” she said, “but you have to rise to the occasion if you’re a leader, and you have to try to break through and you have to try and open and enlighten other people who may hate you." And that’s what she taught me.

What she said to me took root. And I hugged her and thanked her and I told her, “But I’m so angry.” But she said, “You’ll get over it.” She said, “You know this is who we are as black people.” She reminded us of our history and who we are and we’re not haters and we’re not people who are going to live our lives mean-spirited and angry and so she kind of walked me through why I should move on.

CAPEHART: Neither Wallace nor Chisholm won the Democratic nomination that year. It went to George McGovern, who lost to Richard Nixon in an election that became historic for other reasons.

But it was the beginning of something else for Wallace.

WALLACE KENNEDY: Shirley Chisholm had the courage to believe that even George Wallace could change. She had faith in him. And there would be others who followed. In 1972, Shirley Chisholm planted a seed of new beginnings in my father’s heart. A chance to make it right. An opportunity for a better byway for the seven-year journey he would take from there to this very church.

On a Sunday in 1979, Daddy’s arrival to this church was unannounced and unexpected. But for an attendant rolling his wheelchair to the front of this sanctuary, he was alone. What the congregation must have thought when he said, “I’ve learned what suffering means in a way that was impossible. I think I can understand something of the pain that black people have come to endure. I know I contributed to that pain and I can only ask for your forgiveness.” As he was leaving the church, the congregation began singing “Amazing Grace.”

CAPEHART: Wallace’s transformation not only included publicly renouncing racism, it also involved him personally asking black leaders for forgiveness. As governor, he appointed a record number of African Americans to state positions. Wallace even crowned the first black homecoming queen at the University of Alabama.

LEE: In getting to know Peggy, you know, I see exactly what Shirley Chisholm meant. I mean, her father, she saw this happen right there in the hospital room in front of her eyes, what Shirley Chisholm told me when I was about to bail. And to know 40 years later, this made an impact, I just see how Shirley Chisholm’s wisdom . . . it was something that I will always remember and be grateful for because I hope it informs me in my work every day with people I totally disagree with.

WALLACE KENNEDY: Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. Rather, it means that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship. Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning. Forgiveness means reconciliation, a coming together again. Without this, no man can love his enemies.” As one writer observed, “Who would have ever thought that George C. Wallace would by both word and act become an example of what King proposed?”

CAPEHART: Peggy Wallace Kennedy ended her speech with a bit of drama, revealing to the audience what you already know — that it was now-Congresswoman Barbara Lee who was angered by Chisholm’s visit to her injured father. But, it is what she said in her revelation that demonstrates the power of forgiveness, healing and purposeful reconciliation.

WALLACE KENNEDY: But there is an important footnote to this story that inspires me every day. The young campaign worker — who in 1972 was angered by Shirley Chisholm’s decision to suspend her campaign to visit George Wallace, my father — is here in this church today and who is like a sister to me, Congresswoman Barbara Lee. And the power of love lives on.

For More Information


Bruun, Erik, and Jay Crosby, eds. Our Nation's Archive: The History of the United States in Documents. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 1999.

Crass, Philip, The Wallace Factor. New York: Mason/Charter, 1976.

Dorman, Michael, The George Wallace Myth. New York: Bantam, 1976.

Lesher, Stephan, George Wallace: American Populist. Addison-Reading, MA: Wesley, 1994.

Schneider, Gregory L., ed. Conservatism in America since 1930. New York: New York University Press, 2003.


Hirsley, Michael. "Ex-Alabama Gov. George Wallace Opposed Integration in the 1960s." Chicago Tribune (September 14, 1998): p. 7.

Pearson, Richard. "Former Ala. Gov. George C. Wallace Dies." Washington Post (September 14, 1998): p. A1.

Raines, Howell. "George Wallace, Symbol of the Fight to Maintain Segregation, Dies at 79." New York Times (September 15, 1998): p. B10.

Rowan, Carl T. "The Rehabilitation of George Wallace." Washington Post (September 5, 1991): p. A21.

Web sites

Alabama Department of Archives and History. (accessed on August 4, 2004).

Tyranny: In this case, tyranny refers to the U.S. federal government, which passed laws that overruled some laws of Southern states.

Draw the line in the dust: Similar to "Draw a line in the sand," meaning to mark the point at which an opponent should not pass.

Toss the gauntlet: Similar to "Throw down the gauntlet," meaning to open a challenge.

International racism, international white, and international colored: Wallace is referring to the theory that white southerners are being persecuted by those who want to eliminate racial differences.

Mongrel unit of one: A racially mixed citizenry.

Communistic amalgamation: Social mixing that results in the unification of people into a single, mixed race.

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Career [ edit | edit source ]

Wallace's break came when one of his clients opened a comedy club. The club owner was amused by Wallace's natural humor and friendly demeanor and offered him the chance to perform stand-up comedy. In 1977, Wallace walked on stage for the first time, wearing a preacher's robe and calling himself The Right Reverend Dr. George Wallace. His routine was completely improvised.

He stayed in New York City for several years, perfecting his craft and living with friend and fellow comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

In 1978, Wallace moved to the West Coast, where he quickly became recognized as a talented young comedian. After one of his performances, producers from The Redd Foxx Show asked him to write for the popular series.

However, after only one year of writing, Wallace returned to the stage. He became a regular at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood, California, which also featured artists including Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Roseanne Barr, Jay Leno and Robin Williams. Wallace also took his comedy show on the road, opening for George Benson, Diana Ross, Donna Summer and Smokey Robinson, among others.

Wallace, who was named the Best Male Standup Comedian during the 1995 American Comedy Awards, says that his routines are inspired by everyday moments of life. His unique brand of social commentary proved popular with radio audiences as well. Wallace was a regular on the Tom Joyner Morning Show before joining the Isaac Hayes on a popular radio program on the former WRKS radio station in New York City. He also starred in his own HBO special and has appeared on many television shows, including The Tonight Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Late Night with David Letterman.

On May 3, 2006, Wallace performed his most famous stand-up bit, which was a diatribe against the young generation's obsession with allowances. While Wallace often jokes about the flippancy of modern youth culture (often citing the "dumb dumbs on their smart phones") this one joke in particular resonated with his audience, and he repeats it at every show. In December 2007, Wallace suffered an on-stage injury when he fell during a private-party performance at the Bellagio resort hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Wallace sued the Bellagio claiming that it was negligent because he tripped over some loose wires left on the stage. In April 2014, a Las Vegas jury found on behalf of Wallace and awarded him US$ 1.3 million. After winning his case against the Bellagio, Wallace announced that he was going to end his 10-year run as a Las Vegas headliner later that month to pursue other projects because "There are so many things to do. It's time to get into something new."

George Wallace shot 45 years ago today: Where are they now? Arthur Bremer, Cornelia Wallace, more

On May 15, 1972, a 21-year-old busboy named Arthur Bremer fired on presidential candidate - and Alabama governor - George Wallace, paralyzing him for life. Here's a look at the people impacted by that day and what happened in the months and years after Wallace's shooting.

George Wallace was in his second term as Alabama’s governor when he announced his third run for the presidency ahead of the 1972 Democratic primaries. His presidential aspirations came to an abrupt halt on May 15, 1972 when Arthur Bremer shot him while during a campaign stop at a Maryland shopping center. Wallace survived but was paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life. The day after the assassination attempt, Wallace won the Michigan and Maryland primaries but he was unable to campaign and keep the momentum and ended his bid in July.

Paul Beaudry | [email protected]

Wallace went on to serve two more terms as Alabama's governor and made one more unsuccessful run for the White House. In his later years, Wallace apologized for his pro-segregation stances in the past and reached out to the black community, who helped him win his final term as governor in 1982. The assassination attempt left Wallace suffering a lifetime of pain and medical complications brought on by his paralysis, complicated by Parkinson's disease he suffered later in life. Wallace died in 1998. He was 79. Wallace's bloodstained clothes are in the possession of the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

Arthur Bremer was a 21-year-old busboy when he shot George Wallace, paralyzing the Alabama governor from the waist down. Bremer had originally planned to shoot President Richard Nixon, in a bid to capture world attention. He abandoned that idea when he realized the President was too well protected and turned his attention instead to the campaigning Wallace. He traveled to Maryland to a Wallace campaign rally and, just after the candidate had finished speaking and made his way through the crowd, Bremer opened fire with his .38 revolver, striking Wallace in the abdomen. Three other people were shot. Bremer was tackled by onlookers at the scene.

Associated Press file photo

Less than three months after Wallace was shot, Bremer went on trial. His defense team argued he was schizophrenic and legally insane the prosecution disagreed, saying he had plotted to attack Wallace. Bremer was convicted on Aug. 4, 1972 and sentenced to 63 years in prison. A year later his diary was published, detailing his actions and thoughts on the months leading up to the assassination attempt.

Leada Gore | [email protected]

Bremer served 35 years in prison before being released in 2007 at the age of 57. Terms of his release include electronic monitoring and staying away from elected officials and candidates. He’s also required to undergo mental health evaluations. Bremer lives in Cumberland, Maryland and has a steady job, law enforcement officials said. Bremer’s probation will end in 2025 – he will be 75 years old.

Paul Beaudry | [email protected]

Cornelia Wallace was George Wallace's second wife and from an Alabama political family, with her uncle James "Big Jim" Folsom serving two terms as Alabama's governor. She married George Wallace in January 1971, shortly before he was inaugurated for the second of his four nonconsecutive terms as governor. Cornelia Wallace was with her husband on the day of Bremer's assassination attempt, throwing her body over her wounded husband. She stayed by his side during his recovery and attempts to continue his campaign but the couple's relationship grew strained and turned openly hostile when Cornelia was discovered tapping her husband's bedroom phone in an attempt to catch him talking to other women. The couple divorced 1978. Cornelia entered the Alabama Democratic primary for governor in 1978 but finished last among 13 candidates. She later retired to Florida to spend more time with her children. Cornelia died on Jan. 8, 2009 at age 69.

(Contributed photo/

Former Vice President Richard Nixon, a Republican, had defeated George Wallace, who ran with the American Independent Party, in the 1968 presidential election and the two faced off again in 1972, accompanied this time by Democratic nominee George McGovern. In 1972, Wallace ran as a Democrat. Nixon had previously been the target of Arthur Bremer before he switched his attention to Wallace and after the assassination attempt. Nixon ordered the FBI to lead the investigation with Secret Service assistance.

On the day of the assassination attempt, Nixon reached out to Cornelia Wallace, saying "you tell him to keep his spirit, and tell him that all of us people in politics have got to expect some dangers, and that Mrs. Nixon and I both send our very best wishes, and you can be sure that we'll remember him in our thoughts and our prayers."

Nixon defeated Democrat George McGovern in the 1972 election in one of the largest election landslides in American history. Within the year, however, the Nixon was accused of a host of offenses ranging from bugging the offices of opponents to a break-in at the Watergate hotel. Facing impeachment, Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974 and returned to his home in California. He was later pardoned by President Gerald Ford. Nixon died in April 1994 he was 81 years old.

Watch the video: Lurleen Wallace 1966 Campaign for Governor and Inaugural