On June 11, 1963, Vivian Malone Jones defied Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s attempts to deny her an education, and with state troopers at her side, marched through the doors of the University of Alabama's School of Commerce and Business Administration. Two years later, she became the first black person to graduate from the University of Alabama, and in 1996, the former governor presented Mrs. Vivian Malone Jones with the Lurleen B. Wallace Award for Courage, named for his late wife, and asked her forgiveness.
African Americans have a long and tiring history of adversity, but also of triumph in the face of it. When Vivian attended her first day of class, she was not alone – she had an entire community of family, friends, and supporters, who saw the importance of her actions, and knew that she was paving the way to something great for future generations. Our power is in standing behind each other, and this is the guiding principle behind Vivian’s Door.