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Remembering the 'stand in the schoolhouse door,' 50 years later

Fifty years ago, on June 11, 1963, Gov. George Wallace stood in the doorway of the Foster Auditorium, physically barring two African-American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from entering.Wallace, who proclaimed the rallying cry in his inaugural address, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,"  was determined to keep a campaign promise to block integration at the uni
Gov. George C. Wallace carries out his promise to stand in the doorway to prevent integration at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963. At right, Nicholas Katzenbach, deputy attorney general of the United States, listens intently to Wallace. At Katzenbach's right is U.S. Marshal Peyton Norville.
Gov. George C. Wallace carries out his promise to stand in the doorway to prevent integration at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963. At right, Nicholas Katzenbach, deputy attorney general of the United States, listens intently to Wallace. At Katzenbach's right is U.S. Marshal Peyton Norville.AP, file
Vivian Malone and James Hood register at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Vivian Malone and James Hood register at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.OFF via AFP - Getty Images, file
Darrell Hood, son of James Hood, enters Foster Auditorium for
Darrell Hood, son of James Hood, enters Foster Auditorium forMichelle Lepianka Carter / Tuscaloosa News via AP

Fifty years ago, on June 11, 1963, Gov. George Wallace stood in the doorway of the Foster Auditorium, physically barring two African-American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from entering.

Wallace, who proclaimed the rallying cry in his inaugural address, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,"  was determined to keep a campaign promise to block integration at the university, reflecting a sentiment felt in much of the Deep South.

Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach delivered a stern warning in front of media and hundreds of onlookers, asking the governor to "responsibly step aside" -- but he boldly refused. 

That afternoon, President Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard to force Wallace to stand down.  And the governor, flanked by state troopers, peacefully stepped aside. 

With that, Vivian Malone and James Hood walked through the doors, past Wallace, and into history. 

Read more about how the schoolhouse door stand influenced one current-day student at the University of Alabama.