It’s weird that so many struggle to believe that America was built on racism when so many of our buildings and monuments are dedicated to people who fought to preserve institutional racism. A building at the University of Alabama at Birmingham named after George C. Wallace has been renamed because of Wallace’s historical support of segregation.
According to the Associated Press, the school’s board of trustees unanimously approved a resolution to change the name to simply the Physical Education Building. The resolution cited Wallace’s history of upholding segregation and stoking racial resentment as reasons for the name change.
Wallace was really about segregation, y’all. So much so that he straight up vowed “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” while being inaugurated as governor in 1963. Yeah, they gave that guy a building.
He served four terms, with his final term coming in 1982. During Wallace’s 1972 presidential campaign, an assassination attempt left him paralyzed. Wallace died in 1998 at the age of 79.
The resolution to change the building’s name noted that Wallace had a rather complex history. As the years went on, Wallace’s views changed and he apologized to late Rep. John Lewis, who was brutally beaten by Alabama state troopers while marching for voting rights in Selma, Ala.
“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. England went on to say that removing Wallace’s name from the building was “simply the right thing to do.”
It should come as no surprise, but Wallace’s name is on multiple buildings throughout Alabama. In fact, at Auburn University, a petition was launched last year urging the school to rename a building on campus named after Wallace as protests against racial injustice swept the nation. The school declined to take any action and Wallace’s son, George Wallace Jr., wrote an open letter opposing the effort, saying such a move would ignore the progress his dad made later in life.
On the other hand, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, Wallace’s daughter, issued a statement supporting the University of Alabama on changing the name.
“It is important to the university to always seek positive and meaningful change for the betterment of students, faculty and the community,” she said.