In 1972, Alabama governor George C. Wallace would come to know violence personally when he was crippled by an assassin’s bullet in Laurel, Maryland, while campaigning for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Yet it was a horrific act of violence that occurred nine years earlier in Birmingham, Alabama, that prompted Time’s editors to put him on the cover in late September 1963. On Sunday morning, September 15, a bomb planted by white supremacists tore through the city’s largest African American church, killing four teenaged Sunday-school students. Wallace had recently won the governorship on an anti-desegregation platform and proved to be popular among whites. He was elected several more times until he finally left office in a wheelchair in 1979.
Chaliapin based this on an actual window in the church, in which Christ’s face had been obliterated by the bombing.