Alabama lawmaker’s bills would remove Confederate symbols from state laws

Updated: Feb. 4, 2021 at 10:15 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A north Alabama lawmaker has pre-filed three bills for this year’s legislative session that take aim at the state’s coat of arms as well as language in some laws that praise the Confederacy.

Democratic state Rep. Laura Hall’s first bill would replace the Confederate flag on the state’s coat of arms with the Alabama flag.

“It is a small thing, but it is an important thing as we look at diversity and inclusion with Alabama,” Hall said. “By altering the seal and by then removing the allowance for the former Confederacy to continue to exist and espouse the negative that so many of us see.”

The Alabama Department of Archives and History says the current coat of arms was adopted by the state in 1939 and consists of a shield on which appears the emblems of the five governments that have held sovereignty over Alabama: Spain, France, Great Britain, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America.

The coat of arms is incorporated into the designs of multiple state agency seals, as well as the Alabama State Trooper badge.

Hall’s second bill would ban Alabama National Guard or Naval Militia members from wearing Civil War medals or decorations on their uniforms.

“You have African American members who serve as well in ALEA, they serve in the National Guard, but yet, when they put that uniform on, that seal is there. And it just does not always feel like it is inclusive,” Hall said.

That same bill would not allow use of the state’s armories for meetings by the Sons of Confederate and Federal Veterans and the Daughters of the Confederacy.

“I’m not trying to be anti-anyone, but I want to be very sure that we remember as we look at the history, at how this has impacted African Americans,” Hall said.

The final bill would remove certain language that praises the Confederacy under a law that governs how the Department of Finance manages the First White House of the Confederacy.

Hall’s bill would remove language calling the building, “a reminder for all time of how pure and how great were southern statesman and southern valor.”

The bill also proposes removing the language from the law that currently states the house and its ground be, “held inviolate as a perpetual memorial to Jefferson Davis and the men and women associated with him in the organization of the Confederate government.”

“I am committed to the idea of diversity. I am committed to inclusion, and so now that we take up these bills lets take this community, lets take this state, and let’s move it forward,” Hall said.

It is unclear when exactly Hall’s bills will be introduced in the legislature. Hall said she has support from her colleagues and is open to discussion from those in opposition.

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