Katzenbach Schoolhouse Stand
Published: May 27, 2012
Katzenbach Schoolhouse Stand, A central figure in Gov. George Wallace‚Äôs ‚ÄúStand in the Schoolhouse Door‚ÄĚ nearly 50 years ago has died. Former Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach died last week at his home in New Jersey. He was 90.
Katzenbach advised presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and was Johnson‚Äôs attorney general.
On June 11, 1963, Katzenbach confronted Wallace at the door of Foster Auditorium and ordered him to step aside and allow the registration of Vivian Malone and James Hood of Gadsden, two black students, by the University of Alabama.
Wallace had vowed to block their admission, but he stepped aside after making a speech.
In a 1992 interview with the Gadsden Times for Wallace‚Äôs prepared obituary, Katzenbach said Wallace had two messages.
‚ÄúOne message he was giving was of a populist dirt farmer, blue collar sort of message,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúAnd sub rosa in the message to many was a racial message because of his standing in the school house door.
Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Katzenbach discussed the plan of action at the university.
‚ÄúJust before that confrontation Bobby called me and I stopped and went to a pay phone and he said, ‚ÄėWhat are you going to say to the governor?‚Äô and I said, ‚ÄėI don‚Äôt know,‚ÄĚ said Katzenbach. (Gadsden Times)
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