George Wallace. As governor of Alabama, George Wallace symbolized racism in the South. In 1972, he was shot five times while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination and becoming paralyzed from the waist down. In the late 1970s, Wallace announced that he became a born-again Christian, and apologized to African-American leaders for his earlier segregationist positions. In his final term as governor, he appointed a record number of black candidates to government positions.