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Opening the Doors
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Opening the Doors is a wide-ranging account of the University of Alabama’s 1956 and 1963 desegregation attempts, as well as the little-known story of Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s, own civil rights movement.

Whereas E. Culpepper Clark’s The Schoolhouse Door remains the standard history of the University of Alabama’s desegregation, in Opening the Doors B. J. Hollars focuses on Tuscaloosa’s purposeful divide between “town” and “gown,” providing a new contextual framework for this landmark period in civil rights history. 

The image of George Wallace’s stand in the schoolhouse door has long burned in American consciousness; however, just as interesting are the circumstances that led him there in the first place, a process that proved successful due to the concerted efforts of dedicated student leaders, a progressive university president, a steadfast administration, and secret negotiations between the U.S. Justice Department, the White House, and Alabama’s stubborn governor.

In the months directly following Governor Wallace’s infamous stand, Tuscaloosa became home to a leader of a very different kind: twenty-eight-year-old African American reverend T. Y. Rogers, an up-and-comer in the civil rights movement, as well as the protégé of Martin Luther King Jr. After taking a post at Tuscaloosa’s First African Baptist Church, Rogers began laying the groundwork for the city’s own civil rights movement. In the summer of 1964, the struggle for equality in Tuscaloosa resulted in the integration of the city’s public facilities, a march on the county courthouse, a bloody battle between police and protesters, confrontations with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, a bus boycott, and the near-accidental-lynching of movie star Jack Palance. 

Relying heavily on new firsthand accounts and personal interviews, newspapers, previously classified documents, and archival research, Hollars’s in-depth reporting reveals the courage and conviction of a town, its university, and the people who call it home.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Quote
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction: Setting the Stage for Desegregation
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. Part One: The Mobs
  2. pp. 7-8
  1. 1. The Cross and the Cadillac: January 26–February 3, 1956
  2. pp. 9-17
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  1. 2. “Mule Sense” and the Mobs: February 3–5, 1956
  2. pp. 18-25
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  1. 3. Monday’s Misfortunes: February 6, 1956
  2. pp. 26-33
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  1. 4. The President’s Problem: February 6, 1956
  2. pp. 34-39
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  1. 5. A War of Words: February 7–March 1956
  2. pp. 40-50
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  1. Part Two: The Stand
  2. pp. 51-52
  1. 6. Prepping for Peace: Fall 1962–Spring 1963
  2. pp. 53-61
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  1. 7. The Law of the Land: June 5–11, 1963
  2. pp. 62-66
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  1. 8. Boone versus Bull: June 6–10, 1963
  2. pp. 67-71
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  1. 9. Guns and a Governor: June 8–9, 1963
  2. pp. 72-80
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  1. 10. The Calm before the Stand: June 10, 1963
  2. pp. 81-85
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  1. 11. A Stand for Segregation: June 11, 1963
  2. pp. 86-96
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  1. 12. New Students, New Strategy: June 11–July 1963
  2. pp. 97-107
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  1. 13. Old Wounds Healed: October 10, 1996, and September 16, 1998
  2. pp. 108-114
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  1. Part Three: The Movement
  2. pp. 115-116
  1. 14. The Rise of Reverend Rogers: 1954–64
  2. pp. 117-121
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  1. 15. The Clash at the Courthouse: January–April 23, 1964
  2. pp. 122-130
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  1. Photographs
  2. pp. 131-142
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  1. 16. The Myth of Marable: May–June 8, 1964
  2. pp. 143-150
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  1. 17. Bloody Tuesday: June 9, 1964
  2. pp. 151-159
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  1. 18. Jamming the Jails: June 10–13, 1964
  2. pp. 160-165
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  1. 19. The Defenders: Dates Unknown
  2. pp. 166-173
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  1. 20. Testing Tuscaloosa: June 30–July 7, 1964
  2. pp. 174-182
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  1. 21. Movie Mayhem: July 8–10, 1964
  2. pp. 183-192
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  1. 22. Boycotting Buses: August 1–September 12, 1964
  2. pp. 193-199
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  1. 23. Remembering Reverend Rogers: March 25–29, 1971
  2. pp. 200-210
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  1. 24. The End of an Era: 1964–71
  2. pp. 211-221
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  1. Epilogue: A New Beginning: June 11, 2011
  2. pp. 222-224
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 225-256
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 257-276
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 277-288
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