Gov. George Wallace is a reminder that recognition of basic legal rights is an essential start but just a beginning and is insufficient on its own. Rosa Parks and Stokely Carmichael are reminders that the only way to forever remove George Wallace from our schoolhouse door is to marry the fight for legal equality with a vigorous fight for community strength and vitality.
Intellectually, there's a case to be made for the rights of state government in the face of federal power. States pre-existed the federal government. States organized and fought a revolution to break free of a strong central government. Washington is, after all, the creation of a contract among sovereign states.
The chief justice of Alabama's supreme court is making a stand in the courthouse door. This is not literally happening, the way it did in 1963 when Alabama Gov. George Wallace made a similar stand in the schoolhouse door. But in both cases, high Alabama officials are trying to preserve the state's ability to discriminate against a segment of its population.