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University of Alabama marks 60 years of desegregation

The University of Alabama is set to commemorate a major historical milestone next week that affected not only the institution, but the entire state as well.

On June 11, 1963, the University of Alabama began the process of desegregation, enrolling two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood. The decision to desegregate the school at the time was largely unpopular.

In his famous “schoolhouse stand,” Gov. George Wallace attempted to block the two students from registering at the school by standing in the doorway of Foster Auditorium where registration for the term was taking place.

Hood, years later, said of the historic event, “one person can make a difference if that one person is committed to making a difference.”

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the historical event, the university has scheduled activities, including an observance Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at the Malone-Hood Plaza. The ceremony will include music, a wreath-laying at the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower, and the chance to to take pictures in front of the original doors to Foster Auditorium.

A concert for “a time of campus and community fellowship and reflection” will be at 6 p.m. at Denny Chimes.

The film “Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment,” documenting the events of 60 years ago, will be shown Monday at 1:30 p.m. in Foster Auditorium. Dr. John Giggie, director of the UA Summersell Center for the Study of the South, will lead a discussion.

All activities are open to the public.

In the event of inclement weather, the commemoration will be moved indoors to the Bryant Conference Center.

More events will be held throughout the year and will be announced.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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