MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Former longtime Alabama Rep. Alvin Holmes has died, the Alabama Democratic Party confirmed. He was 81.
“Representative Alvin Holmes was a great Democrat and a fighter. He stood on the frontlines of the fight for civil rights and was willing to sacrifice everything in his fight for justice for all. He not only had a long and distinguished career as a civil rights leader, but also as a member of the legislature, serving his constituents faithfully and dutifully for 44 years. Alabama has lost a giant, whose wit, intelligence, fearlessness, selfless determination, and leadership will be sorely missed. My prayers are with his friends, family, and colleagues,” said Alabama Chair of the Democratic Party and Rep. Chris England in a statement.
Alvin Holmes was a Montgomery native. He served in the legislature for 44 years. He is the longest serving member of the Alabama House of Representatives. In 2018, he lost in the democratic primary runoff to Rep. Kirk Hatcher.
One notable moment in his career came when he led the effort to take the Confederate flag down from the Alabama’s Capitol dome. That fight was won in early 1993.
Holmes was also known for working to eliminate racist language from the state constitution. He also spearheaded the annual parade on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, released a statement Saturday:
“Former Representative Alvin Holmes was not only a champion of civil rights in Alabama but he was also a champion of all taxpayers. He took stands to insure African Americans were treated fairly and that tax dollars were spent wisely. Representative Holmes could be forceful at times and give no ground on issues he was passionate about but no one ever questioned his sincerity. I was proud to call him a friend. My wife Debbie and I offer our sincere condolences to his family.”
Holmes was an Alabama State University alumnus.
“As an honored alumnus of ASU, Rep. Holmes dedicated his life to being a powerful champion for his district and for the citizens of the state of Alabama. Rep. Holmes was a fighter. As his former colleague in the legislature, I witnessed his passionate representation first hand and always admired his tenacity and strength of purpose. The people of Alabama have lost a dedicated advocate and this University has lost a committed son. Our prayers are with his family,” said ASU President Dr. Quinton T. Ross Jr. in a statement.
Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said in a statement that Holmes was a good man and a “great Montgomerian.”
“Former Representative Alvin Holmes dedicated his life to being the voice for those who had felt silenced for far too long. He stood staunch in the face of racism and sought to dismantle the machinery of segregation, hate and systemic injustice that plagued our state and our nation. Above all, Representative Holmes was a good man, a gifted orator and a great Montgomerian. Rest in power, Representative Alvin Holmes,” Reed said.