Our University had its own brush with civil rights history when then-Alabama Governor, George Wallace, made his iniquitous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.” It was then, on June 11, 1963, where segregation – enforced by the full color and force of the law ended – dying a death not with rocks, bullets or bombs but with a beaten, defeated ideology stepping meekly out of the way for progress and the never-ending march toward equality. Law students watched the governor’s defiance that day from Farrah Hall, the original home of the law school and neighbor to nearby Foster Auditorium. While today’s law students may no longer watch as history unfolds from the school’s back windows, the students at the University of Alabama School of Law remain a vital part of the world around them. Many of us continue to be interested in the quest for civil rights for all, and through this journal year, UA law students will have an opportunity to join the fight.
Starting from just a small seed, students nurtured a proposal and won approval from the law faculty in late 2008. Their idea? The Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review – a specialized law journal to track developments in the vital and interconnected areas of civil rights and civil liberties. In the field of civil rights, we survey and follow the drive for equality as the specter of discrimination – be it along racial, ethnic, religious or other lines which we use to divide one another – still lurks in many corners of everyday life. Wallace may have chosen the University as the site to make his stand over 45 years ago, but today, The University of Alabama is home to something breathtakingly different: a new vanguard for the rights and freedoms of all Americans.