The 1968 Exhibit: George Wallace's "Segregation Speech," 1963

 

George Wallace-- 1963 and 1968

 

Fifty years ago today, George Wallace gave a speech at his inauguration as governor of Alabama that would be remembered as the clearest and most divisive statement of Southern white segregationism, a speech that included the notorious promise:  "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."  Listen to a new Radio Diaries documentary on the speech later today on NPR, or afterwards on their website. 

The speech certainly marked a new, triumphant moment for the governor, but Wallace's "high-water mark" did not come until he was out of office and running for president in 1968.  In spite of a campaign marred by missteps (and a disastrous choice for running mate in the person of General Curtis LeMay), Wallace went on to win five Deep South states in the Electoral College vote-- the most of any third-party candidate before or since.