James Hood

James Hood

James Hood (born c. 1943) was one of the first African Americans to enroll at the University of Alabama in 1963 and was made famous when Alabama Governor George Wallace tried to block them from entering, triggering a showdown with federal troops.

He was catapulted into the national spotlight on June 11, 1963, when, accompanied by federal marshals and the assistant U.S. Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, he attempted to register for classes at the all-white university. [cite book |last=Blaustein |first=Albert P. |authorlink= |title=Civil Rights and African Americans: A Documentary History |publisher=Northwestern University Press |date=1991 |pages=483 |isbn=0810109204] He was barred from doing so when Alabama Governor George Wallace made good on his threat to "stand in the schoolhouse door" in an attempt to prevent racial integration of Alabama schools. [Citation |last= |first= |title=Alabama segregation date approaches |url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-06-08-alabama-segregation_x.htm |publisher="USA Today" |date=2003-06-08 |accessdate=2007-11-23] Ultimately, Wallace stood aside, and Hood, along with Vivian Malone, was allowed to enroll. Hood left the university after only two months but returned in 1995 to earn his doctorate degree. [Citation |last= |first= |title=Civil rights pioneer Vivian Jones dies |url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-10-13-jonesobit_x.htm |publisher="USA Today" |date=2005-10-13 |accessdate=2007-11-23] On May 17, 1997 he received his Ph.D.

In 1997, former Gov. Wallace planned to give Hood his degree, but poor health prevented Wallace from attending the ceremony. Wallace met with Hood in 1996 to apologize for his actions.Fact|date=March 2007 Hood himself was convinced that Wallace was sincere after that meeting, as he wrote in an interchange following the PBS documentary on Wallace, "Setting the Woods on Fire". Hood attended Wallace's funeral in 1998, imploring others to forgive Wallace as he had, [Citation |last=Bragg |first=Rick |title= Quietly, Alabama Troopers Escort Wallace for Last Time |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D05E0D81F31F934A2575AC0A96E958260 |publisher="New York Times" |date=1998-09-17 |accessdate=2007-11-23] as Wallace had publicly apologized for his actions. [Citation |last=Leff |first=Mark |title=Wallace symbolized segregation, reconciliation |url=http://edition.cnn.com/US/9809/13/wallace/wallace.bio.html |publisher="CNN" |date=1998-09-10 |accessdate=2007-11-23]


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