Martin Luther King Jr.

This week in Columbia's history: Segregationist George Wallace held controversial rally in new, integrated Columbia

This week in Columbia's history: Segregationist George Wallace held controversial rally in new, integrated Columbia

Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a segregationist presidential candidate, held a rally at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia on June 27, 1968. His visit rattled residents and sparked a debate over free speech and inclusivity in the year-old, racially integrated Columbia.

Fred Weaver, one of the first residents of Columbia, described the news of Wallace's rally as a critical testing point for the new city, which was founded and marketed as an idealistic place of diversity during a turbulent decade of the civil rights movement.

"We came here under the auspices of the next America," Weaver said. "At this time, there was rioting in D.C. and Baltimore, Martin...

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