Wallace orders troopers to stop Negro marchers

This story was published on March 6, 1965 and contains language that may be considered offensive. It has not been edited, in order to preserve the historical record.

MONTGOMERY, Ala., March 6, 1965 (UPI) -- Gov. George C. Wallace announced Saturday he would not let Negroes march from Selma to Montgomery Sunday, but integration leaders said that if state police "try to bully us, we'll have to stand our ground."

"There will be no march between Selma and Montgomery," Wallace said, "and I have so instructed the Department of Public Safety."


The governor told a news conference that he had ordered highway patrol chief Col. Al Lingo to "use whatever measures are necessary to prevent a march."

Rev. Andrew Young, an aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said "we're going ahead."

Young said that if Wallace's troopers "stop us, we'll have to decide on some alternate plan of action. It depends on how or where he plans to stop us. We don't intend to be pushed around or intimidated.

"If they are reasonable, we'll probably turn around and go back to church," Young said. "If they try to bully us, we'll have to stand our ground and refuse to cooperate." This, he said, might consist of sitting down beside the road and refusing to move.

Young said that King still intended to lead the march.


Young said that "we have the right under the First Amendment to petition the governor or any public official for changes in the social order. This is what we are planning to do," he said.

Wallace charged that the march was planned by the same person who caused "weeks of disorderly interruption of the normal functions of government in and around the Dallas and Perry County areas."

"Such a march cannot and will not be tolerated," he said. "I might add that a large group of legislators who conferred with me Friday concur in this decision."

The governor said it was his duty to "insure the protection of the lives and property of our citizens and those traveling through our state under all conditions within my power. Certain it is that any preconceived march along the public highways of this state is not conducive to the orderly flow of traffic and commerce within and through the state of Alabama. The additional hazard placed upon highway travel by any such actions cannot be countenanced.

"It is clearly obvious to any sensible person that such organized group marching along our highways would only add to existing hazards of traffic such as curves, embankments, bridges and other normal conditions found along the ways of this state.


"Such action would not be allowed on the part of any other group of citizens or non-citizens of the state of Alabama and will not be allowed in this instance," Wallace said.

The governor said the Negroes could not be permitted to simply walk along side the highway because they would have to get on the pavement to get over bridges and pass guardrails along the way.

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