Students Who Racially Integrated the University of Alabama to Be Honored at the Site of the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door”

In June 1963, Gov. George C. Wallace made his historic “stand in the schoolhouse door” in a show of defiance against a federal court which ordered the racial integration of the University of Alabama. The Kennedy administration, represented by Assistant Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, agreed to permit Wallace to stage his show of defiance to federal authority but only after receiving assurances from the governor that he would not pull out the state highway patrol and leave the city in the hands of racist thugs. Wallace kept his part of the bargain and Vivian Malone and James Hood were permitted to enroll at the University of Alabama.

Up to now this historical event was noted by a small plaque on Foster Auditorium where Wallace made his stand. The building was closed in 2006 due to asbestos.

Now, Foster Auditorium is undergoing a $15 million renovation that will convert the building to a gymnasium that will be home to the women’s basketball and volleyball teams. A new plaza and a clock tower will be constructed outside the building to commemorate the event, which was a major milestone of the civil rights movement. The plaza will be named after Hood and Malone. The clock tower will be named after Autherine Lucy, a black woman who unsuccessfully tried to integrate the university seven years earlier in 1956.