top of page

Wallace Accelerates Federal-State Showdown over School Integration

Sept. 9, 1963 - Governor George Wallace of Alabama replaced his state policemen with National Guard troops tonight and moved towards a showdown with the federal government over school integration in three Alabama cities. Wallace used his state police today to block desegregation of schools in Birmingham, Mobile, and Tuskegee. Then, despite a sweeping court order to stop interfering with the schools, Wallace ordered the police replaced with guardsmen tonight. He took the action after every federal district judge in Alabama ordered him and other state officials not only to stop interfering with desegregation, but to maintain law and order at the schools. Federal sources in Birmingham said that should Wallace bar Negroes from joining white students tomorrow, the Federal government “will move quickly.” They implied that President Kennedy would not wait until classes begin again Wednesday to force the Negroes’ entrance. Earlier today, Mr. Kennedy accused Wallace of playing politics for “personal reasons” and trying to force him to send troops to the state. If Wallace continues to resist integration of schools, Mr. Kennedy is expected to issue a “cease and desist” order, the last legal step before he employs federal troops to force integration. It was the same pattern followed last June 11, when the President federalized the Alabama National Guard to force the integration of the University of Alabama.


bottom of page