TUSCALOOSA | George Wallace Jr. knows his father’s legacy is firmly set in the minds of many, perhaps even in the pages of history.
But in a talk given Thursday evening, Wallace said his father, a four-time Alabama governor and four-time presidential candidate, lived two lives: One as a brash politician and supporter of segregation, and the other as a man seeking forgiveness after a would-be assassin’s bullet that left him paralyzed during a presidential campaign in 1972.
Of that moment, as the elder Wallace lay on his back, his blood pooling on the ground, his son said “this was his first step on the road to Damascus.”
According to the Bible, it was on the road to Damascus that Saul, a persecutor of early Christians, was struck down and blinded by God before converting to Christianity, changing his name to Paul and becoming an apostle of Jesus.
Wallace spoke at the Tuscaloosa Public Library and read excerpts from his book, “Governor George Wallace: The Man You Never Knew by the Man Who Knew Him Best.” The event was organized by the Tuscaloosa Genealogical Society.
“I never intended to write a book. I started writing about three years ago early in the morning about my father, perceptions and about events. The more I wrote, the more I realized that my father was a man many people never knew,” Wallace said.
“I thought it only fair that his entire journey be chronicled. All of our lives are entire journeys, not just one or two stops along the way.”