Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Vivian Malone Jones, First Black to Graduate from University of Alabama, Dies at 63
Vivian Malone Jones, one of two Black students whose effort to enroll at the University of Alabama led to former Gov. George Wallace's infamous "stand in the schoolhouse door" in 1963, died on Oct. 13. She was 63.
Jones, who went on to become the first Black to graduate from the school, died at Atlanta Medical Center, where she had been admitted Oct. 11 after suffering a stroke, said her sister, Sharon Malone.
"She was absolutely fine [Oct. 10]," Malone said.
Jones, a retired federal worker who lived in Atlanta, grew up in Mobile, Ala. She had enrolled at historically Black Alabama A&M University in Huntsville before she transferred to the University of Alabama in 1963. The move led to Wallace's stand in defiance of orders to admit Black students. Jones and James Hood, accompanied by then-Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, enrolled at the university after Wallace finished reading a statement and left.
At an appearance last year in Mobile, she recalled meeting with Wallace in 1996, when the former governor was in frail health. He died in 1998.
"I asked him why did he do it," she said. "He said he did what he felt needed to be done at that point in time, but he would not do that today. …