The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s board of trustees has voted to rename a building named after the late George C. Wallace due to his history of supporting segregation.
The resolution to change the name of the building to the Physical Education Building received unanimous approval. The decision cited “Wallace’s history of upholding segregation and stoking racial resentment as reasons for the name change,” the Associated Press.
After Wallace was inaugurated as governor in 1963, he vowed: “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
As time went on, the former governor’s views on segregation changed.
Wallace apologized to the late Rep. John Lewis after he was “brutally beaten” by Alabama state troopers while leading a march of over 600 people for voting rights in Selma, Ala (March on Selma).
“That said, 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.” trustee John England Jr. said in a statement.
He noted that changing the building’s name was “the right thing to do.”
During his life, Wallace served four terms as governor, with his final term coming in 1982. He was left paralyzed during his 1972 presidential campaign following an assassination attempt. He passed away in 1998 at the age of 79.
While his son, George Wallace Jr., opposes renaming the building named after his father, his sister, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, supports the recent decision.
“It is important to the university to always seek positive and meaningful change for the betterment of students, faculty, and the community,” she said in a statement.