On this day in Alabama history: Gov. Lurleen Wallace buried

On this day in Alabama history: Gov. Lurleen Wallace buried
Lurleen Wallace posed for her official gubernatorial photograph soon after her election. Born into a working-class family, Wallace was a popular figure among much of Alabama's electorate. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History)

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.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

Related Stories