Wallace Jr. speaks to Lions Club

Published 5:33 pm Friday, January 25, 2013

George Wallace Jr. spoke to the Clanton Lions Club on Jan. 25 and shared excerpts from a book he wrote about his father titled "Governor George Wallace, The Man You Never Knew."

Clanton Lions Club members spent their meeting Friday listening to stories and anecdotes about former Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace from his only son, George Wallace Jr.

George Wallace Jr. served as Alabama State Treasurer from 1987-1995 and on the Alabama Public Service Commission from 1998-2006.

Along with his memories and handwritten notes, Wallace leaned on excerpts from his book, “Governor George Wallace, The Man You Never Knew,” to describe the progression of his father’s life, from his law school days at the University of Alabama, to his four terms as governor of Alabama, and finally to the years he spent as a paraplegic in chronic pain after being shot five times in the chest.

Wallace spoke of the segregation and racial tensions associated with his father’s first term as governor, alluding to George C. Wallace’s standing in the schoolhouse door at the University of Alabama to block integration of schools statewide.

“We have to talk about it,” Wallace said. “That was certainly a factor in the equation on my father’s journey.”

Another part of his journey was growing in his spiritual walk, Wallace said. He recalled his father saying, “Son, I used to think politics was the most important thing in the world, but it is not. It is our relationship with the Lord.”

Wallace said writing a book was not always in his plans, but it eventually seemed to be a solution for decreasing the misconceptions people hold about his father.

“His story has not been told to my satisfaction,” Wallace said. “I’d like for people to know about his life in totality.”

Wallace also shared memories of his mother, Lurleen Wallace, who served as Alabama’s first female governor from 1967-1968.

“She was humble and genuine and caring,” Wallace said. “She certainly left an indelible mark on our people.”

Wallace added that his father and Elvis Presley were long-time friends, and Presley would often call their home and offer one of his vacation spots to the Wallaces.

“He was a great friend,” Wallace said.

To read more about Wallace and his family or to purchase a copy of his book, visit georgewallacejr.com.