University of Alabama Integrated -1963

James Meredith

On June 11, 1963, two black students were admitted to the University of Alabama. This occurred after an unsuccessful attempt by Governor George Wallace to block their admission. President Kennedy ordered the national guard federalized to insure their admittance, and gave an impassioned speech to the nation on the subject.


Despite the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v Board of Education, many African American applied to the University of Alabama. All were denied admission. In 1963 three African Americans applied, and a federal district judge ordered that the three be admitted and warned Alabama Governor George Wallace not to interfere.
On June 11 Vivian Malone and James Hood arrived at Foster Hall at the University to pay their fees and have their courses reviewed. Governor Wallace stood at the door of the building to block the entrance. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach accompanied the students and told Wallace to stand aside. He instead gave a speech decrying the violation of state rights.

Katzenbach then called President Kennedy who issued a prepared executive order, nationalizing the Alabama National Guard and ordering them to accompany the students into the school. Four hours later the National Guard commander ordered Wallace to move aside and allow the students to enter.