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Saturday, October 15, 2005

A She-ro I Wish I Had Met

After graduating from the University of Alabama, Vivian Malone Jones worked for the United States Justice Department in its Civil Rights Division. She also worked at the Environmental Protection Agency as Director of Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Director of Environmental Justice before retiring in 1996 to sell life insurance.

One of her strongest memories of Alabama was that she often smiled at white students, but got no response.

Some years later, in 1996, the Lurleen B. Wallace Award for Courage, named for Wallace's late wife, was graciously accepted by Ms Jones from the family of the former governor. By this time George Wallace was a feeble old man confined to a wheelchair the result of a would-be assassin's bullet.

At an appearance last year in Mobile, Alabama, the place where she grew up, she recalled her meeting with Wallace. Jones revealed the late governor told her he'd made a mistake 33 years earlier and that he admired her. "I asked him why did he do it," she said. "He said he did what he felt needed to be done at that point in time, but he would not do that today. At that point, we spoke — I spoke — of forgiveness."

While she attended college the university hired a driver for her, a student at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa named Mack Jones. They later married, and he became an obstetrician. Her husband Dr. Mack Jones passed away last year.

Ms. Jones is survived by her son, Michael A. Jones; her daughter, Monica Jones Shareef; three brothers; four sisters; and two grandchildren.

Vivian Juanita Malone Jones was symbolic for my generation. She was the ideal. We wanted to be educated. We wanted to have the best education available. If it could be attained by attending a formerly all white college or university, then so be it. We just wanted to be educated. Vivian Malone Jones embodied our desire to be educated to elevate our position in society. We wanted to have what everyone else in America wants. We wanted good paying jobs to be able to provide for our families, to live in beautiful homes in safe neighborhoods.

Vivian Malone Jones suggested one lesson that might be taken from her historic experience: "You must always be ready to seize the moment."
I recognize the decision she made was not an easy one. The abuse and mistreatment she endured as "the first" or even "the second" was difficult. We appreciate what you did Vivian. Thank you.

On behalf of my generation I extend sincere condolences to the family.

I Wish I Had Known Her

Vivian Malone Jones, one of two black students whose effort to enroll at the University of Alabama led to George Wallace's infamous "stand in the schoolhouse door" in 1963, has died. She was 63 years old. Her sister Sharon Malone told The Associated Press the cause of death was a stroke. I wish I'd had an opportunity to meet her. I wish I'd had an opportunity to speak with her about her experience. Ms Jones, a retired federal employee, lived in Atlanta.

Vivian Juanita Malone grew up in Mobile, Alabama, where she was a member of the National Honor Society in high school. She had enrolled at historically black Alabama A&M University in Huntsville and earned a bachelor's degree at the predominantly black university, but it lost its accreditation. To get an accredited degree, she applied to the University of Alabama's School of Commerce and Business Administration and was admitted as a junior.

Her entrance to the university came as the civil rights struggle raged across the South. On June 12, the day after Ms. Jones and James Hood were escorted into the university by federalized National Guard troops, the civil rights leader Medgar Evers was shot to death in Jackson, Miss.

The move led to then-Governor George Wallace's infamous stand in defiance of orders to admit black students. The performance of Governor Wallace, who stood at the doorway of Foster Auditorium flanked by state troopers, fulfilled a campaign pledge to stop integration at "the schoolhouse door." Some historians have written his defiance was scripted and came with a promise to federal authorities that he would be brief and would soon comply.

At the time, The Tuscaloosa News wrote scornfully that Wallace "squeezed every suspenseful moment of drama from the occasion."

Ms Jones and James Hood, accompanied by then-Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, enrolled after Wallace finished his statement and left.

On May 30, 1965, Ms. Jones became the first black to graduate from the University of Alabama in its 134 years of existence, earning a degree in business management with a B-plus average.

Next Post: More about this Civil Rights She-ro.

Tom and Katie to Wed Next Month??

From Clark Dark, gossip reporter for YouThinkWhat:

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are rumoured to be planning a beach wedding next month.
    Henry Gandolph comment: This "announcement" comes after being blasted for a lack of morals by Tony Danza.)
The couple had been planning Christmas nuptials but are now said to be tying the knot at the swanky Ritz-Carlton in Mexico in November - because Cruise doesn't want his baby born outside of marriage.

According to a source speaking to a British tabloid newspaper: "Tom's old fashioned. He wants his child to be born in wedlock. He's very romantic and wants everything to be in place before the birth. They both decided on the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun as soon as they got engaged and initially were planning on tying the knot around Christmas. Katie didn't know that she was pregnant, so their arrangements suddenly had to be scrapped."

The insider also revealed 26-year-old Katie is worried about walking down the aisle in her current condition.

The source told a British newspaper Holmes didn't realize she would show quite so quickly. The source, close to Cruise and Holmes, says she's been stressed about the whole idea of walking down the aisle being so obviously pregnant.
    Henry Gandolph comment: (I say--Katie, Sweetie, perhaps you should have considered this when you were deciding to break Tom off....or does one give the same consideration to a lab dish??)

Earlier this week Holmes was photographed showing off a sizeable figure- sparking speculation she is more than three months pregnant as previously rumoured.
    Henry Gandolph comment: Better living through science.