This Day in Black History: June 11, 1963

The first two Black students attempt to register at the University of Alabama.

Posted: 06/11/2014 12:00 AM EDT
This Day in Black History: June 11, 1963

(Photo: OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Escorted by U.S. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, Vivian Malone and James Hood attempted to register for classes at the University of Alabama, on June 11, 1963, the first Black students to do so. However, Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a known segregationist, blocked the door. 

"I didn't feel I should sneak in, I didn't feel I should go around the back door. If [Wallace] were standing the door, I had every right in the world to face him and to go to school,” Malone said in a 2003 interview. Several hours later, the students returned, this time escorted by the Alabama National Guard as ordered by President John F. Kennedy, prompting Wallace to finally step  aside. In 1965, Malone became the first African-American to graduate from the University of Alabama.

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