James Hood understood forgiveness

James Hood

A man who helped to forever change the University of Alabama and this state's thinking about blacks and whites has died in his hometown of Gadsden.

James Hood was one of two African American students who attempted to enroll at the University in Junes, 1963. It is where Governor George Wallace made his infamous stand in the school house door to try to block Hood and Vivian Malone Jones from registering.

Wallace stepped aside after President John Kennedy federalized the National Guard. Decades later, Wallace and Hood met. Hood remembered the conversation in an interview he did with the "Gadsden Times" in March, 2011. He said, "when I met him in 1996, he said he was sorry." Hood told Wallace he forgave him a long time ago because hate destroys and he didn't want that to happen.

In November 2010, the University of Alabama dedicated Malone Hood Plaza in front of Foster Auditorium - the place of the confrontation in 1963.

Funeral arrangements for James Hood have not yet been announced. Hood was 70 years old.