Interview with Burke Marshall
QUESTION 33
INTERVIEWER:

COULD YOU TALK ABOUT THE ADMINISTRATION'S REACTION TO GOVERNOR WALLACE? WOULD THEY HAVE USED FORCE AGAINST HIM?

Burke Marshall:

We would have used force. We would have removed the Governor physically, although that would have been very unpleasant, in consequences. I think we would have had a lot of violent protest against federal officials, and even federal military, as a result. But I never thought that it would come to that. I- we had no communication with the Governor. We tried to have communication with the Governor, and that didn't work. He just sat in open meeting with a tape recorder going. But we did—by we I mean the administration—put enormous pressure on Alabama businessmen and Alabama politicians, and Alabama newspaper men that could be reached, which was a lot of them, as well as of course on the university officials. And I was quite confident that Governor Wallace was going through a show. And at the end of the show, he'd do what he did. Which was say, "I give in to federal force, I can't do anything more. I've stood in the schoolhouse door, and I've been forced out of it by federal troops." And that's in fact what he did, and there was no violence in- in Alabama. He learned from Oxford, Governor Wallace, he didn't want—at least his friends—his political friends, and his business friends— didn't want to have happen in Alabama what had happened a year earlier in Mississippi. They didn't want that reputation, that stain, on their state. So they wanted it over with, and they wanted it over with peacefully. And whatever Governor Wallace's personal inclinations were, he gave in to that.