George Corley Wallace – A Lesson for your High School Homeschoolers


George Wallace

Who is George Corley Wallace?  Simply put, George Wallace must be the most well-known, influential and controversial bigot this country has every produced.  According to my husband, he is the epitome of evil and doesn’t deserve the thought or a blog post – especially on Martin Luther King day.

I disagree.  We must face our history and seek to understand so that we do not repeat it.  Without people who perpetuated the idea of fear and hate through the generations, The significance of Dr. King would have been lessened.  George Wallace is the figurehead who represents an ideal.  The philosophies of one fueled the other.  George Wallace was the direct opposite of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  He advocated for separation and inequality through violence and intimidation.   He was the proverbial thorn in the side of anybody who cared about civil rights for anyone.  He was vehemently against of integration of the races, or anyone who was any different from himself (white and Christian).

Later in life, he was quoted in saying that his segregationist polices were fueled by the bible.

“I didn’t hate anybody”.

It was the biblical scriptures that advocated against multiculturalism and promoted separation of the races. Very interesting – and a great point of discussion.

George Wallace was not dumb.  He grew up in Rural Alabama and he was quiet intelligent.  He could move a nation on a platform of hate and violence.  He led and inspired an entire people.

The purpose of this post is not to vilify a man who is long gone, or bring up a “not  so fun” part of  history, but as a lesson plan – so you can discuss this interesting a and important character with your high schoolers – intelligently – as you talk about Dr. King’s message, policies, and events during the civil rights era.

Here is a very good and thorough look at the life of George Wallace created by PBS.  On this site is a comprehensive timeline from birth to death, including the 1979 assassination attempt that rendered him paralyzed (karma can be strong – it’s incredible).   Also there are maps, official transcripts, and information about other people and events.  It’s the most comprehensive and factual information I could find online (and I found some very scary stuff).

In the early 80’s he issued a death-bed apology (not really but it sounds very dramatic) – in an attempt to change his legacy (who wants to be known as being a hateful and disgusting person?), George C. Wallace made his last and successful bid for Governor for the state of Alabama – with shocking results.   Despite his apology and subsequent cooperation with a number of black civil rights figures, he will be infamous for these two segregationist events.


1.  Standing in the school-house door, blocking Vivian Malone and James Hood (two African-American Students) from enrolling in classes at the University of Alabama in 1963.


2.  The 1963 inaugural Address



Nice, eh? Good times!


In 1997 – a year before his death – John Frankenheimer released George Wallace – a movie loosely based on his life.  It starred Angelina Jolie and Gary Sinise.


Not surprising, this movie caused great controversy – stemming from the Wallace family.


While writing this post, my son asked if George Wallace was a good or a bad man.


He was neither good nor bad.  He was a man who was a product of a tumultuous and violent time.


Interviews/Stories of Gov. Wallace

Here is an interview of Gov. Wallace in 1986.

Here is an documentary (including interview) of Gov. Wallace which was aired by CNN News right before his death.


Things progress and people learn from mistakes.  George Wallace’s Daughter Peggy talks about teaching her children to be more tolerant.  Listen and read from NPR.



Thought provoking questions for discussion or essay:

1.  Do you think Gov. Wallace was a product of the time?  Being born in rural Alabama under Jim Crowe,  could he have grown up any differently?

2.  Wallace (literally) blocked a plan for the integration of the University of Alabama.  Besides his anti-integration attitudes, why was this event so significant to the civil rights movement?

3.  Who wrote the infamous inaugural address for Gov. Wallace?  Why is this significant?

2.  George Wallace issued in apology in the early 80’s and was then elected to his last term of governor. Why was this event significant?

3.  Governor Wallace ran under the democratic ticket – even in the height of his segregationist period.  During that time, African-Americans were voting Republican (from Roosevelt era politics).  When did the shift take place where African-Americans (largely) began voting democratic.  What caused this shift?

4.  It’s my thought the scripture interpretations depends upon the hearts and minds of those who interpret them.  We are just mere mortals.  Find those scriptures in the bible that George Wallace read that advocate against multiculturalism and list them.  Next offer other interpretations that promote love and togetherness.

5.  Why was the George Wallace movie so controversial.

6.  What do you think?  is George C. Wallace a good or a bad man?  Why?

About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. I ABSOLUTELY agree with you that we need to remember the good with the bad to make sure that evil is not repeated. We learn from our past this way and it’s essential to teach our children.
    PragmaticMom recently posted…10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd GradeMy Profile

  2. Thank you for this post!

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