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The University of Alabama at Birmingham recently removed the name of the former state governor and prominent segregationist George C. Wallace from its physical education building.
University officials announced the name change on Feb. 5 after the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama system unanimously approved renaming the former George C. Wallace Building to simply the Physical Education Building. Wallace was a four-term Alabama governor and presidential candidate who “built his political career” on supporting segregation, a name change resolution by the university system’s Board of Trustees said.
The resolution noted Wallace famously declared, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” during his 1963 gubernatorial inauguration speech. Judge John England Jr., a university trustee, said the name change was “simply the right thing to do.” Peggy Wallace Kennedy, Wallace’s daughter, also supported the change, according to a university press release. England noted that Wallace eventually apologized for his actions to John Lewis, the late Georgia congressman and civil rights icon. But “his stated regret late in life did not erase the effects of the divisiveness that continue to haunt the conscience and reputation of our state,” England said.
Auburn University has not removed Wallace’s name from a building on its Alabama campus, despite an online petition that circulated last year urging the university to do so, ABC News reported.
(The headline on this piece has been corrected to identify the institution changing a building name as the University of Alabama at Birmingham.)