George Wallace, former governor of Alabama, was originally an ardent racist and segregatonalist; he later became more mild and benevolent and said that he set himself in God's path.
Following an assassination attempt on his life in 1972, Wallace saw the error of his ways and publically apologized to black civil rights leaders for his actions, stating "I was wrong. Those days are over and they ought to be over." Wallace believed he was power hungry in his earlier days and it was something to be deeply ashamed of. Thus, Wallace transformed from a man standing in the way of a school door refusing to allow black students to integrate with white students to a kindly anti-racist man who respected and hugged people of all ethnicities. However, he was permanently confined to a wheelchair as the gun shots paralyzed him from the waist down. In his last term as governor in 1983, Wallace had several black appointees under his administration. Wallace's administration was the first time two black members had positions in the same cabinet. Wallace was forgiven by many black Americans such as Jesse L. Jackson and for once became popular among the black population. Ninety percent of the state's entire black population voted for Wallace in the 1982 election. Even black individuals who had a strong opposition to the Republican Party stated they no longer saw Wallace as a villain.
In his final gubernal term, Wallace saw the increase of funding and quality improvement for mental hospitals, prisons and education. Wallace also oversaw the increase in support for the American working class within the state of Alabama. He also increased funding to black universities, created a statewide junior college system, increased government support for inner cities and improved industrial development.
Wallace spent his final days with a racially integrated set of friends both old and new, but mostly sitting in pain at a small restaurant close to the capitol building in Montgomery receiving much love and support from friends and well wishers.
On September 13, 1998, Wallace finally passed away. His funeral was attended by an even mix of both black and white individuals who came to pay their respects to him. Coincidentally, it was Wallace's earlier gun wounds that helped lead to his death. People of both ethnicities chose to have the funeral focus on the positive aspects of his life and talked of Wallace's sense of humor.
Despite his change of heart and subsequent actions to make up for the segregation days, Wallace's later life remains forgotten and many outside the south refuse to acknowledge his post-1972 life.
George Wallace on Real Life Villains wiki