George Wallace

George Wallace

George Wallace, the son of a farmer, was born in Clio, Alabama, on 25th August, 1919. He studied at the University of Alabama and received his law degree in 1942.

Wallace served in the United States Army Air Force during the Second World War. After the war he became assistant attorney general of Alabama before being elected as a member of the Alabama Legislature in 1947. Wallace also served as judge of the Third Judicial District of Alabama (1953-1958).

A member of the Democratic Party, Wallace attempted in 1958 to become his party's candidate for governor of Alabama. His main rival, John Patterson, Alabama's Attorney General, was an outspoken segregationist who had become a popular hero with white racists by using the state courts to declare the NAACP in Alabama an illegal organization. Patterson was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan and easily defeated Wallace.

After the election Patterson admitted that: "The primary reason I beat him (Wallace) was because he was considered soft on the race question." Wallace agreed and decided to drop his support for integration and was quoted as saying: "no other son-of-a-bitch will ever out-****** me again".

One of the ways that Wallace improved his racist credentials was to recruit Asa Earl Carter as his main speechwriter in the 1962 election. Carter, the head of a Ku Klux Klan terrorist organisation, was one of the most extreme racists in Alabama. Carter wrote most of Wallace's speeches during the campaign and this included the slogan: "Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!"

During the campaign to become governor of Alabama in 1962 he told audiences that if the federal government sought to integrate Alabama's schools, "I shall refuse to abide by any such illegal federal court order even to the point of standing in the schoolhouse door." Wallace campaign was popular with the white voters and he easily won the election.

In June 1963, Wallace blocked the enrollment of African American students at the University of Alabama. Similar actions in Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile made him a national figure and one of the country's leading figures against the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King told one journalist in 1963 that Wallace was "perhaps the most dangerous racist in America today."

Wallace continued to resist the demands of John F. Kennedy and the federal government to integrate the Alabama's education system. On 5th September he ordered schools in Birmingham to close and told the the New York Times that in order to stop integration Alabama needed a "few first-class funerals."

A week later a bomb exploded outside the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, killing four schoolgirls who had been attending Sunday school classes. Twenty-three other people were also hurt by the blast.

Alabama law barred Wallace from standing as governor for a second term in 1966. His wife, Lurleen Wallace, stood instead and her victory determined that Wallace would retain power.

In February, 1968, Wallace announced his intention of standing as an independent candidate for president. His hostility to civil rights legislation won him support from white voters in the Deep South and won Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Although he won over 9 million votes he came third to Richard Nixon ( 31,770,237) and Hubert Humphrey (31,270,533).

Nixon was concerned that Wallace would stand as a third party candidate in the next election. Nixon’s initial strategy was to destroy Wallace’s power base in Alabama. This included providing $400,000 to try and help Albert Brewer defeat Wallace as governor. This strategy failed and in 1970 Wallace won a landslide victory for a second term as governor of Alabama.

This failed and Richard Nixon had to change his strategy to one of blackmail. With the help of Murray Chotiner, Nixon discovered details of Wallace’s corrupt activities in Alabama. In July 1969, Nixon pressurized the IRS into forming the Special Services Staff (SSS). The role of the SSS was to target Nixon’s political enemies. By 1970 the SSS had compiled a list of 4,000 individuals. Most of this list were on the left. However, Nixon now added Wallace and several of his aides to this list. This included George’s brother, Gerald Wallace, who had indeed made a fortune from his business activities. This included a $2.9 million contract for asphalt that went to Gerald's company even though he charged a $2.50 per ton over the going price. By August 1970, the SSS had 75 people working on what was known as the “Alabama Project”.

To show that Nixon meant business, one of Wallace’s closest aides, Seymore Trammell, was sent to prison for 4 years for corruption. Nixon then used Winston Blount, his Postmaster General, to begin negotiations with Wallace. A deal was eventually struck with Wallace. In return for calling off the SSS Wallace made a statement that he would not become a third party candidate. On 12th January, 1972, Attorney General John N. Mitchell announced he was not going to prosecute Gerald Wallace. The following day Wallace gave a press conference where he announced he would not be a third party candidate.

It soon became certain that George McGovern would get the nomination of the Democratic Party. However, Wallace did much better than expected. Richard Nixon now feared that Wallace would not keep his promise and become a third party candidate. Polls suggested that virtually all of Wallace’s votes would come from Nixon’s potential supporters. If Wallace stood, Nixon faced the prospect of being defeated by McGovern.

On 15th May, 1972, Arthur Bremer tried to assassinate Wallace. at a presidential campaign rally in Laurel, Maryland. Wallace was hit four times. Three other people, Alabama State Trooper Captain E. C. Dothard, Dora Thompson, a Wallace campaign volunteer, and Nick Zarvos, a Secret Service agent, were also wounded in the attack.

Mark Felt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately took charge of the case. According to the historian Dan T. Carter (The Politics of Rage), Felt had a trusted contact in the White House: Charles Colson. Felt gave Colson the news. Within 90 minutes of the shooting Richard Nixon and Colson are recorded discussing the case. Nixon told Colson that he was concerned that Bremer “might have ties to the Republican Party or, even worse, the President’s re-election committee”. Nixon also asked Colson to find a way of blaming George McGovern for the shooting.

Over the next few hours, Colson and Felt talk six times on the telephone. Felt gave Colson the address of Bremer's home. Colson now phoned E. Howard Hunt and asked him to break-in to Bremer's apartment to discover if he had any documents that linked him to Nixon or George McGovern. According to Hunt's autobiography, Undercover, he disliked this idea but made preparations for the trip. He claimed that later that night Colson calls off the operation.

At 5:00 p.m. Thomas Farrow, head of the Baltimore FBI, passed details of Bremer’s address to the FBI office in Milwaukee. Soon afterwards two FBI agents arrived at Bremer’s apartment block and begin interviewing neighbours. However, they do not have a search warrant and do not go into Bremer’s apartment.

At around the same time, James Rowley, head of the Secret Service, ordered one of his Milwaukee agents to break into Bremer’s apartment. It has never been revealed why Rowley took this action. It is while this agent is searching the apartment that the FBI discover what is happening. According to John Ehrlichman, the FBI was so angry when they discovered the Secret Service in the apartment that they nearly opened fire on them.

The Secret Service took away documents from Bremer’s apartment. It is not known if they planted anything before they left. Anyway, the FBI discovered material published by the Black Panther Party and the American Civil Liberties Union in the apartment. Both sets of agents now left Bremer’s apartment unsealed. Over the next 80 minutes several reporters enter the apartment and take away documents.

Charles Colson also phoned journalists at the Washington Post and Detroit News with the news that evidence had been found that Bremer is a left-winger and was connected to the campaign of George McGovern. The reporters were also told that Bremer is a “dues-paying member of the Young Democrats of Milwaukee”. The next day Bob Woodward (Washington Post) and Gerald terHost (Detroit News) publish this story.

The following day that the FBI discovered Bremer’s 137-page written diary in his blue Rambler car. The opening sentence was: "Now I start my diary of my personal plot to kill by pistol either Richard Nixon or George Wallace." Nixon was initially suspected of being behind the assassination but the diary gets him off the hook. The diary was eventually published as a book, An Assassin's Diary (1973).

Wallace survived the assassination attempt. He gradually developed the view that one Nixon’s aides ordered the assassination. To gain revenge he announces he is to become a third party candidate. However, Wallace’s health has been severely damaged and reluctantly he had to pull out of the race.

In May, 1974, Martha Mitchell visited Wallace in Montgomery. She told him that her husband, John N. Mitchell, had confessed that Charles Colson had a meeting with Arthur Bremer four days before the assassination attempt.

Wallace ordered his own investigation into Bremer. He told friends that he was convinced that Nixon’s aides had arranged the assassination. Wallace gave an interview to Jack Nelson of the Los Angeles Times. Wallace told Nelson that the man seen talking to Bremer on the Lake Michigan Ferry looked very much like G. Gordon Liddy.

Wallace was partially paralyzed as a result of the attack by Arthur Bremer. After a long spell in hospital Wallace was able to return to politics. He apologized for his previous stance of civil rights and during the 1982 won the governorship with substantial support from African American voters.

Ill-health forced Wallace to retire from politics in 1987. He continued his support of integration and in March, 1995, Wallace attended the re-enactment of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march.

George Wallace died on 13th September, 1998.

Primary Sources

(1) George Wallace, interviewed by Drew Pearson for the Birmingham News (9th February, 1963)

Alabama is not going to retreat one inch. I don't care what other states do. I have announced that I would draw a line in the dust. And I shall stand in the door to block the entry of federal troops of federal marshals or anyone else. They will have to arrest me before they integrate the University of Alabama.

(2) George Wallace, talking to Robert Kennedy about segregation in Alabama (24th April, 1963)

Law and order will always break down when you try to mix races here in our part of the country. I have nothing against people of opposite colour. I got colored people - I have lived around them all of my life my children right now are being nursed by colored folks. I just don't believe in social and educational mixing.

(3) John F. Kennedy, speech on television (11th June, 1963)

Good evening, my fellow citizens. This afternoon, following a series threats and defiant statements, the presence of Alabama National Guardsman was required by the University of Alabama to carry out the final and unequivocal order of the United States District Courts.

Today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. And when Americans are sent to Vietnam or West Berlin we do not ask for whites only. It ought to be possible, therefore, for American students of any color to attend any public institution they select without having to be backed up by troops.

(4) George Wallace, interviewed by the New York Times about his decision to close Birmingham schools (6th September, 1963)

The society is coming apart at the seams. What good was it doing to force these decisions when white people nowhere in the South want integration? What this country needs is a few first-class funerals, and some political funerals, too.

(5) BBC Report (4th August, 1972)

The man who attempted to assassinate Governor George Wallace has been sentenced to 63 years in jail by a court in Maryland, USA. Arthur Bremer, 21, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, shot White House hopeful Mr Wallace at a political rally in Laurel, Maryland on 15 May. Mr Wallace, the governor of Alabama who gained notoriety in the 1960s for his segregational politics, was paralysed by the shots and three other people were injured in the incident. A jury of six men and six women took just over an hour and a half to reach their verdict at the end of a five-day trial in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The defence had argued that Bremer was legally insane at the time of the shooting and that he had "no emotional capacity to understand anything". But the court rejected this argument after the prosecution argued that he was perfectly sane. Arthur Marshall, for the prosecution, told the court that Bremer had been seeking glory and was still sorry that Mr Wallace had not died. Mr Marshall said: "He knew he would be arrested...he knew he would be on trial." After the trial, Bremer's father, William Bremer, said: "I never saw anything like this. "If this is Maryland justice, I cannot understand it. "If 12 people heard all that testimony and cannot make up their minds that they were dealing with a sick boy, I just can't see it." Bremer was taken from the court in a reinforced police van, and guarded by 15 officers, to begin his sentence. It is not yet known whether Governor Wallace will be well enough to continue his bid for presidency.

(6) William Greider, Washington Post (16th May, 1972)

Police immediately arrested a blond young man identified as Arthur Herman Bremer, a 21-year-old busboy and janitor from Milwaukee, Wis. He was charged by state authorities with four counts of assault with intent to murder and was arraigned in Baltimore on two federal charges. One of the federal charges was interfering with the civil rights of a candidate for federal office, a provision of the 1968 Civil Rights Act. The Wallace second charge was for assaulting a federal officer; one of the four people shot at the rally was (a) Secret Service officer.

(7) New York Times (22nd May, 1972)

How did the former bus boy and janitor, who earned $3,016 last year, according to a Federal income tax form found in his apartment, support himself and manage to buy guns, tape recorder, portable radio with police band, binoculars and other equipment he was carrying, as well as finance his travels?

(8) The Toronto Star (24th May, 1972)

In Washington, federal sources said that Bremer had been positively placed in Ottawa during the President's visit, but they said that there was no evidence that Bremer was "stalking" Nixon.... Overall security for Nixon's visit was generally considered to be the tightest in Canadian history.... In addition, federal sources said that some of the notes later found in Bremer's car indicated that he had recently been in Canada.... A reliable federal source close to the investigation termed "incredible" the picture of Bremer's travels being assembled by federal investigators.

(9) Bob Woodward, Washington Post (21st June, 1973)

Within hours of the Wallace assassination attempt, a White House official was asked by the Washington Post about the identity of the governor's attacker. During a subsequent conversation that evening, the official raised the possibility of Bremer's connection to leftist causes and the campaign of Sen. George McGovern, through literature found in his apartment....One White House source said that when President Nixon was informed of the shooting, he became deeply upset and voiced concern that the attempt on Gov. Wallace's life might have been made by someone with ties to the Republican Party or the Nixon campaign.If such a tie existed, the source said, the President indicated it could cost him the election, which was then less than six months away."The President was agitated and wanted the political background on Bremer," the source said.

(10) In 1995 Sherman Skolnick interviewed Aguay Banar on the Chicago public access television program, Broadsides.

Sherman Skolnick: At the time Wallace was shot - so to speak into a wheelchair and not into the cemetery - he was running for President and pulling about 21 percent of the vote. Aguay Banar: Which comes to 26 million popular votes. Sherman Skolnick: But because of the different states that it was into, he could have had the whole thing thrown into the House of Representatives, where it would have been a turmoil. Recently we did a show with spokespersons for some third-party candidates, including those for Perot. And I raised the same question. (Perot had 19 percent in the 1992 election.) And when I raised this question, they said, "Oh, so if Perot had 21 percent, like Wallace, they'd have to shoot him?" I said, "In my opinion, yes." Why is that? I mean, some of us believe that the ultra-rich believe in the bullet, not the ballot. Is that the bottom line? Aguay Banar: The bottom line is money, the almighty dollar: who can best serve the interests of the Northeastern Atlantic elite and the Southwestern Pacific elite. Sherman Skolnick: Just prior to Wallace being shot, he had made a statement. He said, "There's not a dimes worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties." (He was a third-party candidate, very populist.) He said, "If I'm elected, one of the first things I'm going to do is tax the Rockefeller Foundation." When I heard that, I said, "Wallace, you haven't got enough life insurance." So you weren't able to get Wallace on video, but you still got pictures. Aguay Banar: One of the questions that I asked the Governor in writing was, "Was there a conspiracy behind the shooting of your person?" He said, "Yes. Definitely a conspiracy." And then he looked up, on the page, to where a previous question had been asked regarding Richard Nixon. And with the stub of his cigar he poked at the name of Richard Nixon. He said, "Conspiracy! Conspiracy!" And he jabbed at the name of Nixon on the page. Sherman Skolnick: What else leads you to believe that there was a conspiracy? Aguay Banar: There was no way that Richard Nixon was ever going to be re-elected with Wallace in the campaign. To get back into the Oval Office, you had to do away with Wallace so that most of those 26 million votes -- which were center, or right of center - would come over to the side of Nixon. Sherman Skolnick: What do you make of the fact that 6 weeks after they took Wallace out of the campaign by almost killing him, the Watergate break-in occurred? Aguay Banar: The Watergate break-in was nothing more than a contrivance: a poorly executed mission that had, at its very bottom, a very sharp hatchet. And the hatchet was aimed at Nixon's head. The Watergate break-in was designed to be found, and to point the blame at Nixon and bring him down. Sherman Skolnick: E. Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, and others, were involved in the break-in at the Watergate. And there's reason to believe that the White House sent E. Howard Hunt to Arthur Bremer's apartment in Milwaukee... Aguay Banar: ...on orders from Charles Colson. Sherman Skolnick: Bremer's apartment, after the shooting of Wallace, was not sealed off; stuff could have been planted there, such as fake diaries. In other words, Arthur Bremer's diary showed up. Aguay Banar: Yes, but the diary showed up in the car. But when Bremer shot Wallace, the first people that went physically into the apartment were from a bogus news organization known as "TIPS" - Transcontinental International Press Services. Now they are a creature of the Guardians, which are the militant wing of the Church of Scientology. And I'm talking about the branch in Los Angeles. Sherman Skolnick: The Secret Service allowed Bremer to penetrate Nixon's security. In other words, if you create a vacuum where a would-be assassin can penetrate Secret Service security, then it becomes easy to kill somebody. Like they did with Dr. King: withdraw the security. Aguay Banar: Bremer was in the city of Ottawa, Capital of Canada, when Nixon was visiting Pierre Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister at the time. Bremer and Frank Sturgis stayed at the Lord Elgin Hotel, in Ottawa. They stayed in the same section of the Hotel. Frank Sturgis was the control officer of Arthur Bremer on the road. It was he who was passing on money and information to Bremer. Sturgis and Bremer stayed in the same section of the Lord Elgin Hotel that the Secret Service detail of Richard Nixon was staying in. Sherman Skolnick: Could Bremer, at one point, have targeted Nixon for assassination? Aguay Banar: You will recall that the same mythology was created in the assassination of John Kennedy: that Oswald was after Nixon and then, because security was so tight, he instead trained the crosshairs of his weapon on Jack Kennedy. The same thing here: they want you to believe that Bremer was after Nixon and because security was so tight, again, the "lone assassin" trained his gun on someone else - Wallace.

(11) Pat Speer, Donald Segretti and J. Timothy Gratz (9th May, 2005)

A few years back, I had dinner with my best friends' relatives from Maryland, including his cousin and her husband. Over random discussion, I discovered that the husband worked at the State hospital where Bremer was kept, and that Bremer had been considered sane for years and had been elevated to the position of trustee, whereby he was basically an un-paid orderly. He told me that Bremer was only kept locked up for political purposes. Since Bremer didn't actually kill anyone, this seemed a bit strange. The thought occurred: was Bremer kept locked up to keep him away from the U.S. public, or to keep the US public away from what Bremer might have to say? I'm still wondering.

(12) Lisa Pease, Bremer and Wallace, Probe Magazine (May-June 1999)

1972 is most famous, however, for the Watergate break-in, which ultimately led to Nixon’s self-removal from office. The CIA played a heavy and interesting role in both the break-in and the subsequent revelations that led to Nixon’s removal. As Probe has written about in past issues, it appears the CIA operatives deliberately got themselves caught in the Watergate hotel so as not to blow other operations. Then, when Helms was removed, removing Nixon was seen as payback. Those who most contributed to exposing Nixon’s activities, such as Alexander Butterfield, James McCord, and Howard Hunt, all had relationships with the CIA. If the cumulative weight of the evidence is to be believed, it appears that the CIA ran the country’s election process in 1972, deciding which candidates would survive or fail, and participating in acts of sabotage.Is it too far fetched to suggest they may have had an interest in controlling the political fortunes of others that year, even by such drastic means as assassination? From what we know of their presence in the assassinations of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, such as suggestion can hardly be called far-fetched. Therefore, we must ask that most ugly of questions: is there evidence of CIA involvement in the Wallace shooting?According to newspaperwoman Sybil Leek and lawyer-turned-investigative-reporter Bert Sugar, the answer is yes. According to Leek and Sugar, while Bremer was at the Lord Elgin hotel in Ottawa, he met with a Dennis Cassini. Famed conspiracy researcher Mae Brussell and Alan Stang identified Cassini as a CIA operative. Cassini was found dead from a massive heroin overdose in July, 1972, just two months after the Wallace shooting. Cassini had no history of drug use.Cassini’s address book contained the phone number of a John J. McCleary. McCleary lived in Sacramento, California, and was employed by V & T International, an import-export firm. McCleary drowned in the Pacific ocean in the fall of 1972. His father, amazingly, drowned around the same time in Reno, Nevada. If the CIA was somehow involved, that could explain both E. Howard Hunt’s immediate interest in the case, as well as the role of CBS in filming Bremer in the act of shooting. CBS and the CIA shared a particularly close relationship. CIA involvement might go far in explaining the following connections as well.Bremer’s brother, William Bremer, was arrested shortly after the Wallace shooting for having bilked over 2,000 Miami matrons out of over $80,000 by signing them up for non-existant weight-loss sessions. Curiously, Bremer’s lawyer was none other than Ellis Rubin, the man who had defended many anti-Castro activists and who defended the CIA men who participated in the Watergate break-in.Even more curious is Bremer’s half-sister Gail’s relationship with the Reverend Jerry Owen (ne Oliver Brindley Owen), who figures prominently in the RFK case. Owen’s bible-thumping show was cancelled from KCOP in Los Angeles when evidence surfaced showing he had a possibly sinister relationship with Sirhan Sirhan just prior to the assassination of Robert Kennedy. After the assassination, Owen had gone to the police with a strange tale of having picked Sirhan up as a hitchhiker. But other witnesses claimed Owen had given Sirhan cash, and had more of a relationship with Sirhan that he had admitted.

(13) David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace, The People's Almanac (1985)

Artie Bremer was described time and again as a "loner." Despite that description by certain of his acquaintances and by Life magazine, Bremer was constantly in the company of several individuals just prior to the assassination attempt. One of these individuals has been identified as Mr. Dennis Cassini. Before any officials could question Cassini after the murder attempt on Wallace, he was found dead of a heroin overdose, his body locked in the trunk of his automobile. The Milwaukee officials reported this incident to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No attempt was made by the Federal authorities, then under the direction of L. Patrick Gray, to investigate this matter further. Bremer was also seen with an older, heavyset gentleman in the waiting room of the Chesapeake and Ohio Ferry in Ludington, Mich. He was described by the attendant as having a "New Joisey brogue." Mr. Roger Gordon, a former member of the Secret Army Organization (SAO), a government intelligence agency, identified Bremer's ferry contact as a Mr. Anthony Ulasewicz, a White House operative who would become well-known in the Watergate hearings. Gordon has since left this country. It has been reported that Charles W. Colson ordered E. Howard Hunt (both also of Watergate fame) to break into Bremer's apartment within an hour of the shooting, and plant Black Panther party newspapers and Angela Davis literature there. A small news service employee carried out the Colson assignment.

(14) Richard E. Sprague, The Taking of America (1985)

In 1972 the Power Control Group was faced with another set of problems. Again the objective was to insure Nixon's election at all costs and to continue the cover-ups. Nixon might have made it on his own. We'll never know because the Group guaranteed his election by eliminating two strong candidates and completely swamping another with tainted leftist images and a psychiatric case for the vice presidential nominee. The impression that Nixon had in early 1972 was that he stood a good chance of losing. He imagined enemies everywhere and a press he was sure was out to get him.

The Power Control Group realized this too. They began laying out a strategy that would encourage the real nuts in the Nixon administration like E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy and Donald Segretti to eliminate any serious opposition. The dirty tricks campaign worked perfectly against the strongest early Democratic candidate, Edmund Muskie. He withdrew in tears, later to discover he had been sabotaged by Nixon, Liddy and company. George Wallace was another matter. At the time he was shot, he was drawing 18% of the vote according to the polls, and most of that was in Nixon territory. The conservative states such as Indiana were going for Wallace. He was eating into Nixon's southern strength. In April the polls showed McGovern pulling a 41%, Nixon 41% and Wallace 18%. It was going to be too close for comfort, and it might be thrown into the House - in which case Nixon would surely lose. There was the option available of eliminating George McGovern, but then the Democrats might come up with Hubert Humphrey or someone else even more dangerous than McGovern. Nixon's best chance was a head-on contest with McGovern. Wallace had to go. Once the group made that decision, the Liddy team seemed to be the obvious group to carry it out. But how could it be done this time and still fool the people? Another patsy this time? O.K., but how about having him actually kill the Governor? The answer to that was an even deeper programming job than that done on Sirhan. This time they selected a man with a lower I.Q. level who could be hypnotized to really shoot someone, realize it later, and not know that he had been programmed. He would have to be a little wacky, unlike Oswald, Ruby or Ray.

Arthur Bremer was selected. The first contacts were made by people who knew both Bremer and Segretti in Milwaukee. They were members of a leftist organization planted there as provocateurs by the intelligence forces within the Power Control Group. One of them was a man named Dennis Cassini.

(15) CNN news report on the death of George Wallace (14th September, 1998)

Former Alabama Governor George C. Wallace, the fiery populist and one-time segregationist who made two serious bids for the American presidency before being felled by a would-be assassin's bullet, died Sunday. He was 79.

Wallace died at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery after suffering septic shock from what hospital officials described as an "overwhelming" bacterial blood infection. He was admitted to the hospital Thursday morning with breathing difficulties and high blood pressure.

The former four-term governor had had a series of medical maladies since his legs were paralyzed in an assassination attempt in 1972. He also suffered from Parkinson's disease. Wallace was hospitalized briefly in June and again in July, both times for respiratory aliments.

Born in 1919 in Clio, a small town in the "wire grass country" of southeastern Alabama, Wallace made his mark early in state Democratic politics, becoming a judge at age 33 and making a bid for governor at 39.

He lost that 1958 gubernatorial race to a candidate endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, whose views were to the right of him on race issues.

Four years later, running on a platform of maximum resistance to federal attempts to end segregation in Alabama, Wallace won the governorship. He drew national attention in 1963 when he confronted federal authorities at the University of Alabama in Montgomery when they tried to enroll two black students. His so-called "stand in the schoolhouse door" made him a regional political force.

In 1968, Wallace made a third-party bid for the presidency, garnering more than 13 percent of the vote and carrying five Southern states. The defection of southern Democrats helped sink the party's nominee, Hubert Humphrey, and made possible the election of Richard Nixon.

In 1972, Wallace again sought the Democratic nomination. He moved beyond his base in the South and made inroads in northern industrial states, winning the Michigan primary. But his quest ended when he was shot and paralyzed during a campaign stop in Maryland.

Wallace, who had been re-elected governor in 1970, continued to run his state from a wheelchair until he left office in 1978. He was elected to another term as governor in 1982, winning support among black voters after renouncing his previous segregationist views.