WALLACE, GEORGE CORLEY (born August 25, 1919, Clio, Alabama). Governor of Alabama for four terms who first received national attention for "standing in the schoolhouse door" in Alabama in 1963 in an attempt to halt the implementation of the desegregation* of the University of Alabama. Wallace was a farmer's son who worked his way through the University of Alabama Law School and earned an LL.B. in 1942. After serving in World War II, Wallace became the assistant attorney general of the state of Alabama in 1946 and was then elected for two terms to the state legislature. As judge of the Third Judicial Circuit of Alabama from 1953 to 1959, Wallace earned a reputation as the "Fighting Judge" for defying the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights'* investigation of black voting rights.
In 1948 Wallace led the fight against a strong civil rights* plank at the Democratic National Convention, receiving national exposure. He was in solo legal practice from 1958 to 1962. He ran unsuccessfully for the Alabama governorship in 1958, but was victorious in his second attempt in 1962, focusing on segregation* and economic issues.
In his inauguration speech on January 14, 1963, Governor Wallace declared, "In the name of the greatest people that ever trod the earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny . . . and I say . . . segregation now . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever." Within a year of his victory ( June 13, 1963) he kept his pledge to "stand in the schoolhouse door" to stop black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama, and thus "stand in the doorway" became a symbol of southern resistance to the