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Wallace Prevents Desegregation of Alabama Schools

Sept. 2, 1963 - Governor George C. Wallace prevented today the start of public school desegregation in Alabama by sealing off Tuskegee High School with state troopers. Although there had been no indication of trouble in Tuskegee, he said the school’s opening was being postponed for a week “to preserve the peace.” Governor Wallace is expected to repeat this action in Birmingham and Mobile, where classes are to open Wednesday. The Governor thus confronted the Kennedy Administration for the second time in three months with a showdown between Federal and state authority over segregation in education. A source in Montgomery, the state capital, said Governor Wallace’s objective was to force President Kennedy to use troops or deputy Federal marshals. Few white residents of Tuskegee favor integration. A number expressed distaste today at the prospect of becoming the first community in the state to admit Negroes to white classrooms. However, some said they resented the Governor’s interference. One former schoolteacher, whose two children were turned away from school this morning, said: “I don’t know what Wallace wanted to come down here for. They created all that fuss down at Ole Miss and Meredith still got his diploma.”


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