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Defiant Alabama Governor George Wallace Declares “Segregation Forever” at Inaugural

Jan. 14, 1963 - With a battle cry of “segregation forever,” incoming Alabama Governor George Wallace told the nation’s leaders today that Southern voters could elect the next President. “From this day,” he declared at his inaugural, “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.” The 43-year-old former judge was elected on a segregation platform to become Alabama’s 49th Governor. The new Governor faces a certain racial showdown within months of taking office. Three Negroes have applied for admission to the white University of Alabama; others have made preliminary inquiries about attending Auburn University; and in Birmingham, a suit is pending to desegregate the city schools. “Let us send this message back to Washington,” said the Governor, “that from this day we are standing up, and the heel of tyranny does not fit the neck of an upright man. That from this day, 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.

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