Kennedy asks Alabama governor George Wallace to respect the law and desegregate the state's schools.
Report on Desegregation in the Schools of Alabama
September 9, 1963
It should be clear that United States Government action regarding the Alabama schools will come only if Governor Wallace compels it.
In 144 school districts in 11 Southern and border States, desegregation was carried out for the first time this month in an orderly and peaceful manner. Parents, students, citizens, school officials, and public officials of these areas met their responsibilities in a dignified, law-abiding way. It wasn't necessary for the Federal Government to become involved in any of those States.
In the State of Alabama, however, where local authorities repeatedly stated they were prepared to carry out court directives and maintain public peace, Governor Wallace has refused to respect either the law or the authority of local officials. For his own personal and political reasons -- he is desperately anxious to have the Federal Government so that he may later charge Federal interference--he is desperately anxious to have the Federal Government intervene in a situation in which we have no desire to intervene.
The Governor knows that the United States Government is obligated to carry out the orders of the United States court. He knows that the great majority of the citizens in Birmingham, Mobile, Tuskegee, and Huntsville were willing to face this difficult transition with the same courage and respect for the law as did the communities in neighboring States. And he knows that there was and is no reason or necessity for intervention by the Federal Government, unless he wishes and forces that result.
This Government will do whatever must be done to see that the orders of the court are implemented -- but I am hopeful that Governor Wallace will enable the local officials and communities to meet their responsibilities in this regard, as they are willing to do.
Martha Ballard was a midwife and mother in Maine following the American Revolution.
Meet the Wizard of Odd. Robert Ripley was a new media star and the most popular man in America.
Robert Moses fueled some of the most ambitious -- and controversial -- public works projects ever conceived.
Harry Truman was responsible for finding America's place at the start of the Cold War. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The converging forces, circumstances, personalities and events that propelled a group of English men and women west across the Atlantic in 1620.
The personal journey of three generations of a Japanese American family, including their stint in internment camps during World War II.
America's first great songwriter, Stephen Foster, wrote 200 songs but died a penniless alcoholic at 37.
The U.S. government's response to the Holocaust was slow and fueled by complex social and political factors.