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Accompanied by U.S. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, their attempt to register at the University of Alabama was temporarily blocked by Governor George Wallace. The governor (physically) bodily blocked their entrance to the University with his "stand in the schoolhouse door."
Kennedy's father, Robert F. Kennedy, Sr., was a key player in the desegregation of UA as U.S. attorney general in 1963. In 2003, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., gave a keynote address at The University of Alabama's commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the first successful enrollment of African American students.
The three-day event, "Opening Doors: 40th Year Commemoration," remembered the events when Malone (now Vivian Malone Jones) and James Hood enrolled at UA. Malone graduated from UA in 1965 and in 1997, Hood, who left when he was unable to bear the constant spotlight, received his doctorate degree from U.A.