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UA to commemorate 60th anniversary of desegregation

In 1963, Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first two Black students to sustain enrollment at the university.

Vivian Malone, center in a white dress, and James Hood, on her left holding a briefcase, outside Foster Auditorium on June 11, 1963. Alabama Dept. of Archives and History/donated by Alabama Media Group

June 11 will make 60 years since the first two Black students enrolled at the University of Alabama over the protest of then Gov. George Wallace.

On June 11, 1963, Vivian Malone, later Vivian Malone Jones, and James Hood enrolled at the University following Wallace’s unsuccessful attempt to block their registration at Foster Auditorium.

The university will celebrate the anniversary of that major step forward with a. series of events on June 11.

An observance, which will conclude the Black Alumni Association’s reunion weekend, will be held June 11 at 11:30 a.m. at Malone-Hood Plaza, weather permitting. The event, which will be a time of reflection and celebration, will include music, the laying of a wreath at the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower and photo opportunities with the original doors to Foster Auditorium. In case of inclement weather, the observance will be held at 213 Bryant Conference Center.

A concert will be held that evening at Denny Chimes at 6 p.m. on the Quad. Dr. Amir Zaheri, associate director of the UA School of Music and Denny Chimes carillonneur, will provide a musical tribute by playing the chimes. The concert is intended to be a time of campus and community fellowship and reflection.

On June 12, the film “Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment” documenting the events of June 11, 1963, will be shown 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 following the film. Refreshments will be provided.

All activities are open to the public. More events commemorating the 60th anniversary will be held throughout the year and will be announced at later dates.

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Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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