On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision regarding the case called Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, in which the plaintiffs charged that the education of black children in separate public schools from their white counterparts was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education meant that the University of Alabama had to be desegregated. In the years following, hundreds of African-Americans applied for admission, but all were denied. The University worked with police to find any disqualifying qualities, or when this failed, intimidated the applicants. But in 1963, three African-Americans —Vivian Malone Jones, Dave McGlathery and James Hood—applied. In early June a federal district judge ordered that they be admitted, and forbade Governor Wallace from interfering.
In June 2012, George Wallace, Jr. mentioned in a talk that the event was referenced in the third verse of Bob Dylan's 1964 song The Times They Are a-Changin' where Dylan sings "Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call. Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall." Wallace, Jr. said, when he was 14, he sang the song for his father and thought he saw the look of regret in his father's eye.