Petition created to rename George Wallace Tunnel

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A petition has been created to rename the George Wallace tunnel.

The tunnel, on I-10 in Mobile, is named after former Alabama Governor George Wallace. Wallace served four terms as the Governor of Alabama.

One local couple is hoping to make a change. They created a petition to change the name of the tunnel that sits under the Mobile River on I-10.

“There’s a lot of people who remember the same things as I do. That he stood for racism and he wasn’t ashamed to say it,” said Patrick Callaghan, who created the petition.

Callaghan says seeing the unrest at protests across the nation, specifically in Washington D.C., when ‘the streets were cleared’ inspired him to make the change.

The petition states Wallace’s ‘segregationist views’ as reasons to rename the tunnel. Part of the petition reads: “He is best known for the declaration: “I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say, segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Wallace came to national prominence in 1963 when he kept a campaign pledge to stand “in the schoolhouse door” to block integration of Alabama public schools.”

Liz Callaghan explained, “I would rather see us continue to move forward, where the color of your skin doesn’t define who you are. However, we are stuck where it seems that for many, the color of your skin, it has more, and I will never understand of course. I just want to listen to the African American community, and see what their thoughts are considering this is something that affects us, but affects them more-so. I know personally, I would not want to drive through a tunnel every day that’s named after a man that’s best known for saying ‘segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.'”

In 1963, Wallace stood in the way of two black students trying to register at the University of Alabama.

“He was not about bringing people together. I do understand he apologized later in life.. but it still doesn’t take away from his actions and his words that so divided the state,” said Patrick.

“The history will remain in books, it will be taught in schools. It’s all over the internet. THat’s not going to change because we changed the name of a tunnel or take down a statue,” said Liz.

The couple hopes to get as many signatures as they can.

“As many as it takes to make the state legislators take note that hey the people are speaking. We need to listen,” said Patrick.

The petition is directed to both Governor Kay Ivey and Mobile Mayor, Sandy Stimpson.

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