Fifty years ago today the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace shouted, “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!” at the University of Alabama campus.
June 11, 1963, was the date of what has become known as Wallace’s “stand in the schoolhouse door.” The University of Alabama campus was transformed into a scene of chaos when two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, attempted to cross the color line and register for classes. The pair was surrounded by federal marshals, camera crews, jeering students and state troopers wearing helmets and wielding clubs, writes NPR’s Michele Norris.
President John F. Kennedy had federalized National Guard troops to force Wallace to back down, but the governor refused and stood ramrod straight in the entryway.
“I stand here today as governor of this sovereign state and refuse to submit to illegal usurpation of power by the central government,” he said.
While segregation is over, you don’t need to look far to find disparity in the U.S.
The gap between rich and poor Americans is growing. Nearly 20 percent of American children live in poverty.
The Bertelsmann Foundation puts the U.S. near the bottom of 31 developed countries in terms of social justice — as defined as the ability of each individual to participate in the market society, regardless of social status.
Today’s Question: How should the U.S. address growing economic inequality?