Removing Wallace

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Gov. George C. Wallace once had the power to make legislators tremble. Now, nearly five years after his death, some legislators are ready to strip his name off one of the state's largest community colleges.

The state Senate voted 26-to-nothing Tuesday for a resolution to change the name of Wallace State Community College in Hanceville to James C. Bailey State College in honor of the school's longtime president.

Carl Grafton, a political scientist at Auburn University Montgomery said the Senate's unanimous vote was an amazing event. But Grafton is not surprised because personal knowledge of Wallace is fading.

Brighton state Sen. E.B. McClain also said the vote was no surprise because with each election, there are fewer legislators who served with or knew Wallace personally.

Wallace sponsored the Alabama Regional Trade School Act and is considered the father of Alabama's two-year college system.

Besides the Hanceville campus, the two-year college in Selma is named after Gov. Wallace. Another community college in Dothan is named after Gov. Wallace's father and the one in Andalusia is named after his wife, Governor Lurleen Wallace.

The younger Wallace said the Wallace family would prefer the name of the college not change, but they won't get involved in the legislative debate over the issue.

The resolution now goes to the House.