On June 11, 1963, The University of Alabama provided the backdrop for what would become a lasting symbol in U.S. civil right history. With his stand in the schoolhouse door staged at Foster Auditorium on the University's campus, Governor George C. Wallace attempted to defy a federal mandate by blocking the admission of two black students to the University. The nature of racial prejudice and discrimination - its causes, its history, and is impact on society - was the focus of a 1988 national symposium hosted by The University of Alabama to mark the 25th anniversary of the stand in the schoolhouse door. On this occasion major participants in the Wallace stand reconvened to reflect on the issues and circumstances surrounding that event. In addition, because of the original event's central place in civil rights history, and because of the many racial disturbances and difficulties occurring today, scholars from across the country were asked to contribute to an extensive examination of racial prejudice and discrimination.
This book is based on the presentations commissioned for the symposium and is divided into three sections: Historical Context, Current Psychosocial-Cultural Assessments of Prejudice and Discrimination, and Strategies for Change. The contributors include Dan T. Carter, E. Culpepper Clark, John F. Dovidio, Samuel L. Gaertner, Rhoda E. Johnson, James Jones, Leon F. Litwack, Fannie Allen Neal, Mortimer Ostow, Thomas F. Pettigrew, and Walter G. Stephan. The editors have provided introductions to each of the three sections that place the chapters in both historical and contemporary contexts.
Opening Doors describes the progress that has been made in this country in the relationships between and among the races since a sneering Governor Wallace withdrew from the University campus, telling bystanders to "come back and see us in Alabama." The volume also sheds new light on our understanding of prejudice and discrimination and serves to broaden our current perspectives on the traditions, values, attitudes, and behavior patterns that contribute to and reflect these negative components of race relations. At the same time, by recounting historical issues associated with prejudice, racism, and discrimination, by offering current analyses of these concepts, and by suggesting strategies for effecting appropriate and meaningful change, Opening Doors leads to a clear understanding of the nature and extent of progress yet to be realized before we are able to engage in harmonious race relations and enjoy the benefits of a more just society.