Wallace, George C. (George Corley), 1919-1998

Alternative names
Birth 1919-08-25
Death 1998-09-13

Biographical notes:

Born in 1919 in Clio, Alabama; educated at the University of Alabama (J.D.); served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II; Alabama state legislator, circuit judge, and governor of Alabama (1962-1966); ran for the U.S. presidency in 1964, 1968, and 1972; shot and paralyzed while campaigning in 1972 in Maryland; notorious for his strong stand against desegregation.

From the description of Speeches, 1961-1968. (University of Southern Mississippi, Regional Campus). WorldCat record id: 37779182

George Corley Wallace (1919-1998) served as judge of the 3rd Judicial District of Alabama, 1953 to 1958, and he served four terms as Governor of Alabama, 1963 to 1966, 1971 to 1978, and 1983 to 1986.

From the description of Wallace, George C. (George Corley), 1919-1998 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10569453

Gladys King Burns was a graduate student at Auburn University in 1968.

From the guide to the Gladys King Burns papers MSS. 0234., 1948-1965, (W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama)

Billington, Monroe. "Wallace, George." In the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, edited by Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris, 1199-1200. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1989.

Carter, Dan T. The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservation, and the Transformation of American Politics. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.

Lester, Stephen. George Wallace: American Populist. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1994.

The first of four sons, George Corley Wallace was born on August 25, 1919, to George Corley Wallace, Sr., and Mozelle Smith Wallace of Clio, Alabama. George Corley Wallace, Sr., unsuccessfully operated a modest portion of farmland during the southern agricultural depression of the 1920s and 1930s.

George C. Wallace, Jr. distinguished himself at Barbour County High School in football and boxing. His first introduction into politics came when he worked as a page for the Alabama Senate during the summer of 1935. Throughout high school, Wallace contributed to his family's income by traveling the state of Alabama as a magazine salesman and a dog vaccinator for the State Health Department. In 1937, Wallace attended the University of Alabama where he spent three years in pre-law and two years in law school.

After his graduation from the University of Alabama in 1942, George C. Wallace enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. In May 1943, a serious bout with spinal meningitis disqualified Wallace from the Air Force Cadet Training Program. That same month Wallace married a young woman, Lurleen Burns, who he met in the summer of 1942 at a dime store in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Wallace continued his wartime service as an engineer assigned to the Pacific Theater B-29 long-range bomber fleets. Lurleen Wallace gave birth to the first of their four children, Bobby Jo, in 1944. On December 8, 1945, Wallace was medically discharged from active duty service.

Wallace returned to Alabama and accepted a post as the assistant to the state attorney general in December 1945. George C. Wallace won the state legislature House of Representative seat in Barbour County and continued for six years, until his appointment as state circuit judge in 1952. During this period, Lurleen Wallace gave birth to two children, Peggy Sue in 1950, and George C. Wallace, Jr., in 1951.

On a moderate platform, George C. Wallace lost the race for governor in 1958. Reentering the gubernatorial race in 1962, Wallace claimed victory over James Folsom on a campaign platform that rested on segregation and states rights. The last of the Wallace children, Janie Lee, was born between these campaigns in 1961.

The Birmingham bombings of the 1960s, especially the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, nationally highlighted the racial tensions during the first term of the Wallace administration. Governor Wallace's promise to "stand in the school house door" ignited controversy over the Supreme Court Brown vs. Board of Education decision that called for the end of segregation in public shools. On June 11, 1963, Governor Wallace's Tuscaloosa stand-off, championing segregation and states rights, ended without violence as Vivian Malone and Timothy Hood officially entered the University of Alabama as students. In the spring of 1965, following violence in Selma, a march was made to Montgomery. This march helped lead to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Amidst the racial turbulence of the mid 1960s, George C. Wallace entered the presidential campaign in 1964 as a Democrat, but withdrew from the contest in July 1964. Wallace maintained a good showing in the states of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Maryland.

After a failed attempt to repeat the Succession Bill limiting the governor's term in Alabama, Wallace successfully ran his wife, Lurleen, in the 1966 Alabama gubernatorial race. In 1967, with his wife Lurleen strategically occupying the governor's seat in Alabama, George C. Wallace announced his bid for the presidential nomination. "Stand Up for America" was the campaign slogan of the newly formed American Independent Party for the 1968 presidential election. Governor Lurleen Wallace died of cancer in May 1968. Five weeks later, George C. Wallace reentered the 1968 campaign with General Curtis LeMay as his running mate. He eventually lost to the Republican nominee Richard M. Nixon and the Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey.

In 1970, Wallace won against incumbent Governor Albert Brewer for the governorship of Alabama. With his "Send Them A Message" campaign slogan, Wallace presented himself as a national, not regional, candidate. He focused his platform on major issues of crime, drugs, welfare, inflation, and his opposition to busing. On May 15, 1972, the Wallace camp met with tragedy as Arthur Bremmer fired several shots into Governor Wallace as he was campaigning outside a Maryland shopping center. Surviving the assassination attempt, Wallace, paralyzed from the waist down, lost the Democratic party nomination.

Permanently confined to a wheelchair, George C. Wallace won the Alabama governorship for an unprecedented third term in 1974. After a dissapointing presidential campaign in 1976, Wallace directed his full attention to the State of Alabama governorship.

The decade of the 1970s brought many changes to George C. Wallace. Most noteworthy were his public apologies to the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Also, his seven year marriage to Cornelia Snively Wallace ended in 1978.

In 1981 George C. Wallace married Lisa Taylor, a country and western singer. The gubernatorial victory in 1982 marked George C. Wallace's last election. Due to health problems, Wallace announced in 1986 that he would no longer seek a political office. By 1987, his marriage to Lisa Taylor Wallace ended in divorce.

From the description of Collection, ca. 1951-1986. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122508313

George Corley Wallace was born 1919 Aug. 25 at Clio, Barbour Co. Ala., son of George C. Wallace, Sr. and Mozelle Smith Wallace. He attended the University of Alabama Law School and served in the Army as a sergeant during World War II.

From 1951-1953 he served as state representative from Barbour Co., Ala., and later as judge of the third judicial circuit.

Wallace served as Ala. governor from 1963-1967, 1971-1979, and 1983-1987 with his wife Lurleen Burns Wallace elected governor in 1967. He made three unsuccessful bids for U.S. president in 1968, 1972, and 1976.

From the description of 1976 presidential campaign records, 1968-1984. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122548528


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Political Campaigns
  • Campaign literature
  • Presidents--Election--1976
  • Radio advertising
  • Advertising, political
  • Presidents--/Election--1972
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • Presidents--Elections--1968
  • Presidential candidates
  • African Americans--Segregation
  • Alabama
  • Political oratory
  • Governors--Election
  • Television advertising
  • Public opinion
  • Governors--Alabama
  • Political collectibles
  • Education
  • Campaign management
  • Campaign songs
  • Campaign funds
  • States' rights (American politics)
  • Speeches, addresses, etc., American--20th century
  • Government, Law and Politics
  • Campaign buttons
  • Campaign funds--United States
  • Campaign speeches


not available for this record


  • United States (as recorded)
  • Alabama (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Dauphin Island (Ala.) (as recorded)
  • Alabama (as recorded)
  • Southeast Asia (as recorded)
  • Alabama (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • Alabama (as recorded)