Photo by Richard Pipes George Wallace arrives at Houston’s Astrohall. terialsbumperstickers, buttons, brochures, record albums, and books about Wallace. When the candidate reboarded the plane at Beaumont he took with him seven members of the Texas press. Each was assigned a number and given a straight pin with a white head to identify him as a member of the official party. The group which accompanied Wallace in Texas included Ed Ewing, Gov. Lurleen Wallace’s press secretary on loan to her husband; seven armed Alabama state policemen dressed in business suits \(Wallace explained that Alabama law provides that the family of the governor shall be of the American party; campaign workers; three television crews; and reporters. THIRTY MINUTES later the Wallace plane landed in Lufkin, the heart of East Texas. One of the governor’s cigar-smoking body guards looked out the window and said, “They is some niggers out here. I’d like to go out and jump ’em.” Approximately 75 black high school and college students booed Walllace as he climbed out of the plane. The guards spirited the little man through the mixed crowd of well-wishers and demonstrators, then hoisted him onto a bandstand. Wallace took the hecklers in stride. “When I become president,” he told them, “I’m going to create a new course on how to behave in a crowd.” He held another press conference and campaign workers again passed buckets for contributions. ‘Climbing back into the airplane, one of the Alabama patrolmen commented, “Those niggers’ll show up anywhere.” They’re anarchists,” Wallace answered. Exhilarated by the confrontation, he went on to tell a story about one of his audiences that had started “stomping” on hecklers during a speech. “They didn’t get the kind of police protection they’d hoped for,” he said, chuckling. Wallace had a glass of milk and settled down in his seat at the front of the plane for a nap. The bodyguards lighted up cigars and reporters started tapping away on their portable typewriters. The party went on to Tyler and Texarkana for rounds of speeches and press conferences. When Wallace landed in Dallas about 5 p.m. he held another press conference and then moved on to interviews at three television stations. The rally that night in Dallas began more than an hour late because the audience was so large that a panel had to be removed from the grand ballroom of the Statler Hilton Hotel so that a thousand additional people could squeeze into the room arranged to accommodate 1,800. Even with the extra space, people were standing in the aisles. The Young Americans for Wallace band tooted “Dixie” and “Giant” as the happy crowd clapped in tune and chunked $10 bills into Wallace buckets. Wallace and his aides were euphoric. Fund raising was one of the chief objectives of the tour, but staff members would not say how much money was collected, insisting it had not been counted. But as Wallace was speaking in Dallas, two staffers were quietly emptying buckets and counting bills in a press room adjacent to the ballroom. Campaign aides were vague as to whether the money collected would go to local efforts or to the national party. Usually they explained that cash would go to local parties and checks would be kept for national headquarters. During his second day in Texas, Wallace made stops in Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, and San Antonio, where he spoke to an estimated 2,500 persons. Wallace’s grandest reception was in Houston, his last Texas stop. A band audience of 5,500 with an electronic rendition of “Dixie” as jubilant citizens waged American and Confederate flags. “Is this Wallace country?” campaign aide Tom Turnipseed asked the crowd. “Yes, yes,” the spectators answered. ‘Is Texas Wallace country?” “Yes,” they roared. An elderly lady from Cut and Shoot \(her origin revealed on a placard dangchair in the front row to command a batallion of women dressed in red, white, and blue gowns. A rival contingent women and girls from Beaumont in striped and stared dresses vied for television attention. But the women forgot about cameras when Wallace arrived at the Astrohall. “Stay right here and you’ll get your picture in Life.” a photographer told the lady from Cut and Shoot. A younger woman hustled her closer to the stage, explaining, “We’d rather see George Wallace any day.” When he entered, surrounded by Alabama troopers, the hall went wild. Old men in straw hats and red Wallace ties. Boys in Stand-Up-for-America T-shirts. Wallace buttons . . . Wallace posters . . . Wallace license plates and bumper strips. Thousands cheering and May 10, 1968 7
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