May 9, 1968
Lurleen Burns Wallace (1926-1968) died from cancer after serving as governor of Alabama for 16 months. On May 9, 1968, thousands of people lined the streets of the capital city for the funeral procession of the first woman to be elected governor of the state. She had never been a politician but sought office as a popular stand-in for her husband “adviser,” George Wallace, who was prevented by law from a second successive term. Lurleen Burns was from a working-class family and married Wallace on May 21, 1943, when she was 17 and he was 24 years old. During her run for office, she was already diagnosed with cancer but defeated nine males in the primary and easily won the general election.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Lurleen Burns Wallace was Alabama’s 46th governor, serving from 1967-68. Although she was largely elected to provide an unofficial second term to her husband, George Wallace, Lurleen Wallace was much beloved by the state’s citizenry and elected with an overwhelming majority. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama)
These stamps were handed out during Lurleen Wallace’s 1966 gubernatorial campaign. George Wallace’s presence on them signaled to voters the true meaning of her run for governor as a way for him to serve a second, but unconstitutional, consecutive term. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History)
The funeral procession for Gov. Lurleen Wallace proceeds along Dexter Avenue toward the Capitol in Montgomery on May 9, 1968. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, Alabama Department of Archives and History)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.