UWA’s Dr. Rob Riser to participate in “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” Commemoration

Riser_RobUniversity of West Alabama professor Dr. Rob Riser will chair the afternoon session during the national “Where We Stand” conference at the University of Alabama campus on Friday, April 5, at 1:30 p.m. at Alabama Institute for Manufacturing Excellence building room 110. The program commemorates the 50th anniversary of Governor George Wallace’s “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.”

Riser, chair of UWA’s history department, will lead the discussion, “Integration in the United States, Broadly Considered.” Riser is one of many scholars and historians from across the U.S. who will participate in sessions examining the Civil Rights legacy in both the state and nation. Riser, who serves as editor of “The Alabama Review,” said he was honored to be included on the panel.

“This was a momentous occasion for the University of Alabama. The state’s defense of that, epitomized by Governor Wallace’s ‘Stand in the Schoolhouse Door,’ was a burdensome legacy for UA, one it is confronting head-on,” Riser said.

The event is equally significant for the state’s higher education community.

“Fifty years ago, Alabama’s public flagship universities were closed by law and by custom to half our state’s population, and through this conference we want to reflect upon how far the university, the state, and the nation have moved toward openness and access in higher education and in society generally.”

Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of the late governor, will appear on the Foster Auditorium Plaza, site of her father’s infamous 1963 stand, for the 5:15 p.m. keynote session alongside Pulitzer prize-winning author Dianne McWhorter who will deliver her address: “All the Kings’ Children: Growing Up Under The Guvnor and The Bear.”