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Old 06-13-2020, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,785 posts, read 49,177,385 times
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Peggy Wallace Kennedy was 8 years old when she got her first glimpse of the troubling future that awaited her.

She was living in Clayton, Alabama, then a tiny segregated town in the Jim Crow South. Her father was George Wallace, the future Alabama governor and archvillain of the civil rights movement who stood in schoolhouse doors to block black students from enrolling and once declared, "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/14/us/pe...ake/index.html
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Old 06-15-2020, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
2,216 posts, read 3,705,265 times
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George Wallace was a very controversial figure indeed. Historical sources say that he started out as a racial moderate but went extremist after losing a 1958 election. All of the instances that he showed that infamous racist stride happened between 1958 and 1982. Wallace slowly and gradually changed his mind again after 1972 when he was paralyzed by a gunshot wound, claiming he sought power and glory in the early days which led him down the racist path, and by 1982 he won the governorship again, this time with substantial Black support and during that last term appointed many Blacks to state office. We'll probably never know the man's true intentions or that of similar contemporaries.
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Old 06-17-2020, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
23,568 posts, read 16,016,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
George Wallace was a very controversial figure indeed. Historical sources say that he started out as a racial moderate but went extremist after losing a 1958 election. All of the instances that he showed that infamous racist stride happened between 1958 and 1982. Wallace slowly and gradually changed his mind again after 1972 when he was paralyzed by a gunshot wound, claiming he sought power and glory in the early days which led him down the racist path, and by 1982 he won the governorship again, this time with substantial Black support and during that last term appointed many Blacks to state office. We'll probably never know the man's true intentions or that of similar contemporaries.
I think Wallace was simply opportunistic. He seized upon whatever it was he thought it would take to win.

His repentance was sincere, though; Wallace became quite close to a black preacher who prayed with him frequently during his last term as Governor, and he did do as much as he could to reverse the damage he had done earlier.

I don't think Wallace was ever as racist as Jesse Helms or Strom Thurmond. He was quite intelligent- much more than he appeared to be- and had a keen sense of the moment and the mood of his constituency.
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Old 06-17-2020, 11:00 PM
 
Location: DMV Area/NYC/Honolulu
17,823 posts, read 8,437,388 times
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Originally Posted by banjomike View Post
I think Wallace was simply opportunistic. He seized upon whatever it was he thought it would take to win.

His repentance was sincere, though; Wallace became quite close to a black preacher who prayed with him frequently during his last term as Governor, and he did do as much as he could to reverse the damage he had done earlier.

I don't think Wallace was ever as racist as Jesse Helms or Strom Thurmond. He was quite intelligent- much more than he appeared to be- and had a keen sense of the moment and the mood of his constituency.
His repentance may have been sincere, but I'm always skeptical of those who "repent" and change their ways when it's politically convenient to do so. Now, it could have been a pure coincidence (timing wise) or something more calculated. I don't really know.
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Old 06-18-2020, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Wallace was a politician. When the wind blew one way on racist matters he went with it, when the wind direction changed, so did Wallace. Trying to separate opportunism from sincerity in his case is difficult.
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Old 06-18-2020, 01:00 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
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Kennedy had a lot to be conflicted about when looking back at her father. She has an intimate knowledge of him and maybe an understanding that most would not have and a very long time to think about it. His public self is very much on record but her view might be a little different. It sounds like an interesting book.

I think it is interesting how we perceive our parents probably differently than they might have preferred or in ways that others would not understand. There are facets and family dynamics that might not be apparent or can be misinterpreted. I am going through and conserving my parents WW2 letters. They wrote every day so I have hundreds of letters. I knew them in their 40s to 70s mostly but they were very young (26 and 30) when the war started and married for only six months. I had a feeling of being an intruder into their hardships more than once and finally put the project aside for a few months.
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Old 06-18-2020, 01:17 PM
 
10,334 posts, read 10,122,566 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banjomike View Post
I think Wallace was simply opportunistic. He seized upon whatever it was he thought it would take to win.

His repentance was sincere, though; Wallace became quite close to a black preacher who prayed with him frequently during his last term as Governor, and he did do as much as he could to reverse the damage he had done earlier.

I don't think Wallace was ever as racist as Jesse Helms or Strom Thurmond. He was quite intelligent- much more than he appeared to be- and had a keen sense of the moment and the mood of his constituency.
Few people are as controversial as George Wallace was. However, this appears to be true: Wallace began his career in public service as a judge in Alabama. It was said of him during this time that no judge was as polite to black lawyers and litigants as Wallace was. He always addressed them as "Mr." or "Sir" at a time when many judges refused black people that elementary courtesy.

He had run for governor of Alabama initially against John Patterson in 1958 and lost. Patterson had a run a very racially charged campaign and had beaten Wallace by doing so. That may have been the most significant event in Wallace's political career. It likely informed him about what he needed to do if he ever wanted to be elected. Wallace's subsequent campaigns were full of racial rhetoric and hostility at a federal government that was attempting to enforce civil rights laws. His presidential campaign in 1968 as a third party candidate was full of thinly veiled bigoted statements about minorities and it appealed to a cross section of the country that did not see blacks as people deserving equal rights.

In 1972, Wallace was shot and grievously wounded by Arthur Bremer while campaigning in Maryland for the presidency. The shooting left Wallace paralyzed. I think this experience caused Wallace to do some serious soul-searching. He began to moderate his views. In subsequent service in later years as Governor of Alabama, Wallace was credited for more enlightened views and helping to develop his state's economy.

One thing that is not generally known about Wallace is that he attempted to meet with his would-be assassin, Arthur Bremer. I think his intentions were to forgive Bremer and ask for his release from confinement. However, Bremer refused to meet with Wallace.

My assessment of Wallace is that while he did some despicable things, I think he was less a racist than an opportunist. Ultimately, he is an example of how a politician can use and misuse a political climate for his own benefit. Perhaps, all of us do some of this to get ahead at work or in other contexts. It should be a warning to us though what happens when we cast our ethics aside for material success.
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Old Yesterday, 12:34 AM
 
Location: The High Desert
8,585 posts, read 4,710,923 times
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In 1972, I was working for a large commercial catering company and was one of a few white employees and did menial delivery and stock work. The cooks and actual food prep people were middle age blacks, mostly. Many were from the South. The day Wallace was shot the news swept through the building and the reaction was remarkable. The news was still unsettled as to his condition. The workers all spontaneously paused for a few minutes, gathered together and said a prayer for his survival and recovery. I was about 22 and had little sympathy for his actions and his political aspirations so I was not much ready to pray for his survival but it taught me a lesson about humanity and the possibility for redemption (if not forgiveness).
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