George Wallace

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George Wallace
45th Governor of Alabama
From: January 14, 1963 - January 16, 1967
Predecessor John Malcolm Patterson
Successor Lurleen Wallace
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Lurleen Wallace,
Cornelia Ellis Snively,
Lisa Taylor
Religion United Methodist

George Wallace (August 25, 1919 - September 13, 1998) was a pro-segregationist governor of Alabama. He obtained national attention by "standing in the schoolhouse door" in a vsymbolic bid to halt the desegregation of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. He ran unsuccessfully for President of the United States four times, three times seeking the Democrat nomination, (1964, 1972, 1976), and once running as an Independent, the nominee of his own American Independent Party (1968). He carried blue collar white Southerners and rural white Southerners in the United States presidential election, 1968, but his appeal to blue collar northern Democrats was blunted by labor unions, who vehemently attacked him as a dangerous and reckless demagogue.

Early life and career

Wallace was born in Clio in Barbour County in south Alabama, on August 25, 1919.[1]

In his first campaign for governor in 1958, he ran as a moderate Democrat, with support from the NAACP, and lost badly to John Malcolm Patterson.

Realizing that a moderate Democrat had little chance to win in Alabama at the time, he became an ardent supporter of segregation, with the vow, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”[2]; four years later with his hardline stance, he won. However, Alabama for years elected two moderate-to-liberal Democratic Senator, John Sparkman and Lister Hill.

Relationship with Joe Biden

Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.[3] Joe Biden told the Philadelphia Enquirer on October 12, 1975:

“Liberals have rejected common sense. Anybody who has studied the area knows that we don't have a workable rehabilitation program. Yet we continue to insist that the function of prison is to rehabilitate, not punish. I think the Democratic Party could stand a liberal George Wallace — someone who’s not afraid to stand up and offend people, someone who wouldn’t pander but would say what the American people know in their gut is right”[4]

George Wallace praised Biden as "one of the outstanding young politicians of America."[5] Wallace is famous for coining the slogan in a gubernatorial inaugural address,

"Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!"[6][7]

The same year Biden authored an amendment to gut Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Politico writes of the whole sordid affair,

Biden: "My children are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle."[8]
Biden morphed into a leading anti-busing crusader—all the while continuing to insist that he supported the goal of school desegregation, he only opposed busing as the means to achieve that end. This stance, which many of Biden’s liberal and moderate colleagues also held, was clever but disingenuous. It enabled Biden to choose votes over principles, while acting as if he was not doing so....In a seminal moment, the Senate thus turned against desegregation. The Senate had supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Voting Rights Act and 1968 Fair Housing Act....the Senate remained the last bastion for those who supported strong integration policies. Biden stormed that bastion...[9]
“I think the Democratic Party could stand a liberal George Wallace — someone who’s not afraid to stand up and offend people, someone who wouldn’t pander but would say what the American people know in their gut is right” - Joe Biden

Sen. James Abourezk of South Dakota related how Biden reacted when Abrourezek tried to block the amendment:

‘Abourezk, you **********, if I ever vote for another one of your bills, it'll be a cold day in hell.'

‘Calm down, Joe,' I told him, ‘You're eventually gonna thank me for doing this.'

‘Like hell I will you dirty *******.'

A few days later, Biden came into the scheduled committee meeting, this time with a broad, friendly grin aimed directly at me.

‘Jesus, Abourezk, you were right,' he said. ‘I am gonna thank you. You should see the Delaware newspapers—big front-page headlines saying, ‘Biden Battles Liberals in Washington.' He was unabashedly elated. ‘They love me back home, how did you know this would happen?'[10]

The New York Times published a lengthy story on Biden's advocacy of segregation. In a 1977 congressional hearing related to anti-desegregation orders, Biden emphasized,

"Unless we do something about this, my children are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle."[11]

Republican Sen. Edward Brooke, the first black senator ever to be popularly elected, called Biden's amendment “the greatest symbolic defeat for civil rights since 1964.” Brooke accused Biden of leading an assault on integration.

Prof. Ronnie Dunn said opposition to busing was motivated by racism and that without the court-ordered policy Biden probably would not have become vice president in 2009. “What I find ironic is that [Biden] was the vice president under a president who, if it hadn’t been for the social interaction that occurred during the era of busing, I argue we likely would not have seen the election of Barack Obama." Dunn, an Urban Studies professor at Cleveland State University and author of the book Boycotts, Busing, & Beyond, said Biden made the case in favor of maintaining segregation. "That was an argument against desegregation.” Dunn said Biden must address the issue if he runs for president. “People have to be held accountable."[12]

Biden's opposition to integration didn't stop there. HuffPo reported:

"That little girl was me." The Biden Amendment of 1975 to the 1965 Civil Rights Act restored funding for schools that practiced racial segregation. Democrat presidential contender Kamala Harris was ostracized and silenced after exposing Biden's corrupt and racist history.
In 1977, two black men nominated for key Justice Department posts by President Jimmy Carter easily won approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee. After confirmation by the full Senate, Drew Days III became the nation’s first black head of the department’s civil rights division and Wade McCree became the second black solicitor general. Only one member of the committee voted against them. It wasn’t segregationists Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) or James Eastland (D-Miss.). It wasn’t even former Ku Klux Klan member Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.). The lone Judiciary Committee vote against the two men was Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.).[13]

In 1981 Biden said in a Senate hearing, “sometimes even George Wallace is right about some things.” Wallace is famous for saying in 1963, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”[14] Biden read the "N" word into the Congressional Record during an open hearing in 1986.[15] In a farewell address to retiring Democrat segregationist Sen. John Stennis, Biden said:

"To think that I would be one day on the floor of the United States Senate, being paid such accolades by such a man of character and courage as John Stennis is beyond my wildest dreams. And I mean that sincerely."[16]

When Biden announced his candidacy Politico attempted to poo-poo and explain away Biden and liberal Democrat racism with a back-handed slap at school vouchers for minority students, which liberal elites have strenuously opposed ever since the Biden Amendment passed:

School desegregation, as part of a broader suite of civil rights reforms, was once as a vital component of the Democratic Party platform. Yet since the 1970s, Democrats, in the face of concerted white backlash, have largely accommodated themselves to increasing segregation in public schools across the nation. Party leaders, even the most progressive among them, rarely propose serious solutions to this vexing problem. A sincere critique of Biden’s busing record would require a broader reckoning of the Democratic Party’s—and by extension the nation’s—abandonment of this central goal of the civil rights movement. And it’s hard to see that happening anytime soon.[17]

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey condemned the 2020 Democrat primary frontrunner at the Juneteenth annual commemoration of Republican Abraham Lincoln ending slavery in the United States.

You don’t joke about calling black men 'boys'...frankly, I’m disappointed that he hasn’t issued an immediate apology for the pain his words are dredging up for many Americans. He should.[18]

Later life

Jesse Jackson asks for Gov. George Wallace's support in his presidential bid. The two had been snubbed by the Democratic party establishment, Wallace in 1968 and Jackson in 1988.

An assassination attempt in 1972 by Arthur Bremer left him partially disabled. In the late 1970s Wallace became a born-again Christian, renouncing his segregationist policies and apologizing for his past. After his change, he became popular within the African American community, a position of closeness that he would retain until his death.

Media Rehabilitation

Time Oct 18, 1968; Air Force General Curtis LeMay was Wallace's VP nominee

In 1991, Wallace asked the question "The media has rehabilitated Johnson, why won't it rehabilitate me?",[19] in reference to how the liberal media overlook the past positions of Lyndon B. Johnson. After Wallace's passing, the media have indeed rehabilitated him, though likely not in the way he hoped they would. It is not uncommon for dishonest liberal media journalists and others to insinuate[20][21] or outright claim[22][23][24][25] that Wallace was a "Republican", even though he was always a lifelong Democrat.[26][27] Wallace's son, George Wallace, III, did switch to Republican affiliation in later years.


  • "I don't support white supremacy, I'm the one who made them take 'white supremacy' off the roster that was the symbol of the Democratic Party in this state. I did nothing worse than Lyndon Johnson. He was for segregation when he thought he had to be. I was for segregation, and I was wrong. The media has rehabilitated Johnson, why won't it rehabilitate me?"[19]

Further reading

  • Lesher, Stephan. George Wallace: American Populist. (1994). 587 pp.
  • Time. "Wallace's Army: The Coalition Of Frustration," Time Oct 18, 1968

See also


  1. Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History
  19. 19.0 19.1 The Rehabilitation of George Wallace, Washington Post
  20. Salon Photo Implies That George Wallace Was a Republican
  21. New York Times Sunday Front Page Likens Trump to Fellow 'Demagogues' McCarthy, Wallace, Pat Buchanan
  22. Politico Mag Implies George Wallace Was GOP, Blames Country's Divisions Entirely on Whites' Resistance to Civil Rights
  23. MSNBC: Gov. George Wallace Was a Republican
  24. Chris Hayes Apologizes for Tagging George Wallace As Republican: A ‘Stupid, Inexcusable, Historically Illiterate Mistake’, Newsbusters
  25. The Hill Calls Lifelong Democrat Segregationist George Wallace a Republican in Piece About Donald Trump,
  27. His son, also named George Wallace, did switch parties during his father's lifetime; the media capitalizes on this little known fact and the name confusion to promote their claims.