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Today in history: A stand against segregation
In 1963, President Kennedy issued a proclamation forcing Alabama Gov. George Wallace to let black students register at the University of Alabama
 
A teacher addresses a mixed-race class in Little Rock, Ark., where the first school desegregation was being enforced by federal troops, September 1957.
A teacher addresses a mixed-race class in Little Rock, Ark., where the first school desegregation was being enforced by federal troops, September 1957. Paul Slade/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

June 11, 1963: A day after sending National Guard troops to the University of Alabama, President John F. Kennedy issued a proclamation forcing Governor George Wallace to let black students register for classes. Wallace, known for his cry "Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!" literally stood in the door of the school's enrollment office in Tuscaloosa, surrounded by state troopers, to defy federal orders. But he eventually gave in and let two African American students — Vivian Malone and James A. Hood — enroll. Three months later, Wallace again tried to block the desegregation of an Alabama public school — this time Tuskegee High School in Huntsville — but Kennedy once again used his executive authority and federalized National Guard troops. Wallace gave in. President Kennedy vowed to send comprehensive civil rights legislation to Congress; his wishes were the basis for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, passed after his assassination.

Quote of the day

"A child miseducated is a child lost." -John F. Kennedy


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