HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » George Wallace - did he r...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:16 PM

 

George Wallace - did he redeem himself later? Or was it a ruse?

George Wallace, poster boy for segregation during the Civil Rights struggle.

Later, becomes "born again" and completely reverses his stance on segregation, and putting record numbers of blacks in state positions in Alabama.

15 replies, 977 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to Taverner (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:20 PM

1. My father always thought

It was just for show. Me - no opinion. But I'll defer to him as he grew up under the Wallace/Crow regime (he was born in 1941, raised in Talladega, went to college at Tuskeegee).

The only 'leadership' caucasians he trusted from the South of that generation and older were LBJ and Carter.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:52 PM

9. wallace actually started out as a liberalish-southern dem. he turned hard-core segregationist

 

after getting beat by one for an office. presumably that was a move made out of political calculation; likely the later one was too.

in May 1946, he won his first election as a member to the Alabama House of Representatives. At the time, he was considered a moderate on racial issues. As a delegate to the 1948 Democratic National Convention, he did not join the Dixiecrat walkout...

In 1952, he became the Circuit Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit in Alabama. Here he became known as "the fighting little judge," a nod to his past boxing association. He gained a reputation for fairness regardless of the race of the plaintiff, and J.L. Chestnut, a black lawyer, recalled, "Judge George Wallace was the most liberal judge that I had ever practiced law in front of. He was the first judge in Alabama to call me 'Mister' in a courtroom." On the other hand, "Wallace was the first Southern judge to issue an injunction against removal of segregation signs in railroad terminals." Wallace blocked federal efforts to review Barbour County voting lists, for which he was cited for criminal contempt of court in 1959. Wallace also granted probation to some blacks, which may have cost him the 1958 gubernatorial election.

In 1958, Wallace was defeated by John Malcolm Patterson in Alabama's Democratic gubernatorial primary election. At the time the primary was the decisive election; the general election was then a mere formality. This was a political crossroads for Wallace. Patterson ran with the support of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization Wallace had spoken against, while Wallace was endorsed by the NAACP. After the election, aide Seymore Trammell recalled Wallace saying, "Seymore, you know why I lost that governor's race?... I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I'll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again."

In the wake of his defeat, Wallace "made a Faustian bargain," said Emory University professor Dan Carter. "In order to survive and get ahead politically in the 1960s, he sold his soul to the devil on race." He adopted a hard-line segregationist stance and used this stand to court the white vote in the next gubernatorial election in 1962.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wallace


i'm convinced that if you stay in politics the likelihood that you do anything out of personal conviction diminishes year by year.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:37 AM

15. I know

But if you were a young man who had already taken a bullet for your country (My dad was in that first class of Green Berets) and this guy is standing in the way of equal protection before the law - you don't care. You don't hate him - you just go to your grave believing he was too wet to step on and too low to kick.

That meant nothing to the young man home on leave from South East Asia for whom it was dangerous to vote.

I'm not one to romanticize or make excuses for Segregationists - regardless of their reasons for taking the stance they did. They could have been brave and as a result - ended Jim Crow much much earlier without Federal Government involvement.

He wasn't brave when it really could have made a difference.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taverner (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:25 PM

2. Sitting in a wheel chair leaves you with plenty of time to think. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taverner (Original post)


Response to devilgrrl (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:39 PM

7. On which part?

I read somewhere that he started as progressive on civil rights and become a staunch segregationist after losing big in his first run for public office in order to gain the white vote. Not defending the man, but saying it sounds like he was more nuanced than,say, Lester Maddox.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #7)


Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:54 PM

10. 'progressive' -- for a southern democrat. but yeah, he started his career as a moderate & became

 

hard-core segregationist after getting bear by one in a run for governor.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taverner (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:27 PM

4. He probably put record numbers of blacks in state prisons in Alabama

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taverner (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:32 PM

5. It may have been. His refusal to walk out with the "dixiecrats" and in his first election

he supposedly had the endorsement of the NAACP. I know there are claims that he was unsuccesful at first because of his refusal to get the klan crowd backing. Don't know, but we all grow and change. I would say that if he changed, it would probably be from his being exposed to intelligent people from places other than Alabama.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taverner (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:38 PM

6. My mother and grandmother (both AL natives) both believe it was mostly genuine...

But they're also the type to give the benefit of the doubt and err on the side of forgiveness...

fwiw, my grandmother should have written a book -- She had metric assload of dirt on Wallace from her social network of nurses and businessmen...But then it's not like Wallace's reputation could get dirtier....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taverner (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:55 PM

11. Wallace is far more complicated than that.

In her book Coming of Age in Mississippi, Anne Moody alludes to a liberal Governor Wallace who went heavy on the racism in order to gain the Cracker vote.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taverner (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:09 PM

12. I think he did change his views on race relations. But the guy bolted the Democratic Party...

And if I recall, even supported Bob Dole over Bill Clinton in '96.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taverner (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:16 PM

13. If he appointed a few Blacks it would obviously be more than his racist predecessors.


No one who stood in entrance to a state university and said no to Black students should get a break even if old and confined to a wheel chair - - it's too late.

They used to say the same thing about worthless souls like Lester Maddock who the racists in Georgia elected because he chased Black's out of his crappy restaurant with a gun and ax handles.

Screw them and the voters who elected them.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taverner (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:26 PM

14. I think it was somewhat genuine

Shirley Chisholm visited him in the hospital after he was shot and they developed a pretty good working relationship.

On the other side, Chisholm and her unlikely friendship with segregationist George Wallace represents a road not taken, a semi-impossible dream of activist, class-based, cross-racial, coalition politics that might, just might, have produced a much different America than the one we live in today.


It seems they missed a moment that could have really shaken things up.

http://www.salon.com/2012/09/09/shirley_chisholm_the_democrats_forgotten_hero/

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread