UA to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door”

Foster Auditorium, where George Wallace stood 50 years ago.

Foster Auditorium, where George Wallace stood 50 years ago.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala, (WHNT) – The University of Alabama plans to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of George Wallace’s unsuccessful “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” with two public events – a program featuring speakers and musical performances on June 11 and an interfaith prayer breakfast on June 7.

“This is an opportunity to reflect on our history, celebrate our progress and look ahead to the next 50 years of change on our campus,” said UA President Judy Bonner.

On June 11, 1963, Governor George Wallace symbolically stood in the entrance-way to Foster Auditorium to block the entry of two black students, Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood.  Jones and Hood registered, marking a victory for civil rights in the South and all of America.

The event “Through the Doors: Courage. Change. Progress.” will be held on June 11 at 6 p.m. at Foster Auditorium and will celebrate the courage of Jones and Hood.  The event will include presentations by current UA students and alumni as well as musical performances.

The public will also get a chance to see the original door that Malone and Hood walked through in 1963.

On Friday, June 7, the public is also invited to an interfaith prayer breakfast at 7:30 a.m in Sellers Auditorium of UA’s Bryant Conference Center.  This event will celebrate the role that faith organizations played in the civil rights movement.  Though this event is free to attend, you are asked to register here.

After commendations and recognition is given to Canterbury Episcopal Chapel and First African Baptist Church for their help in the events of 1963, there will be performances by UA’s Afro-American Gospel Choir and a brief oral history of the local civil rights movement, along with prayers and music.

UA launched a special website in February that is devoted to the anniversary. It also serves as a source of historical information beginning with Autherine Lucy’s attempt to enroll at UA as the first African-American student in 1956.

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