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Dr. Stephen McNair Dismissed: Zeigler Wants Portraits Returned

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, March 20 Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler is reporting that Alabama’s Director of Historic Sites has been dismissed. Dr. Stephen McNair, PhD had recently removed the portraits of Governors George and Lurleen Wallace (D) from the capitol rotunda in January in defiance of a legislative resolution that the portraits remain in that location. Dr. McNair has reportedly been removed.

Zeigler said in a statement that he will renew his February request to return the portraits to their traditional place.

Alabama Auditor Zeigler had earlier requested that McNair return the portraits.  Zeigler charged that the move was unauthorized, violated a joint resolution of the legislature, and was an attempt to revise Alabama history.

With the Selma to Montgomery 50th Anniversary celebration approaching, McNair quietly took the two portraits from the second floor Rotunda of the Capitol and moved them down a floor and down a hallway beside a non-working door away from the guided Capitol tour routes.

Zeigler said, “This was a wrong that needs to be righted. I will request a vote of the historical commission to return the portraits and that a public hearing be held.” “We need to preserve our State’s heritage. These politically-correct government officials want their own version of history instead of what actually happened.”

Zeigler said, “I now have 100 percent more confidence we can get the portraits restored to their historic place.” Zeigler said that he will file the request for the return of the portraits and the public hearing with the Alabama Historical Commission on Tuesday.

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Wallace and his wife, Lurleen, both served as Governors of Alabama.  Lurleen is the only female Governor in the history of Alabama.  George C. Wallace was elected Governor in 1962, 1970, 1974 and 1982.  Wallace was crippled by an attempted assassination in 1972. Gov. Wallace also ran for President four times.

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George Wallace’s staunch defense of government enforced segregation including his stand in the school house door at the University of Alabama and his ordering of state troopers to use force against voting rights marchers in Selma received National criticism.

Wallace graduated for the University of Alabama with a law degree, served on B29 crews in World War II, received a medical discharge, was appointed assistant Alabama Attorney General, was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1946, became a Circuit Judge in 1952.  In his first run for Governor, Wallace was defeated by John Patterson.

George C. Wallace died on September 13, 1998. Lurleen died from cancer, while serving as Governor on May 7, 1968.

Dr. McNair moved portraits of Governors: Bob Riley, Don Seigelman, and Robert Bentley to the location in place of the Wallaces.

Zeigler said, “I now have 100 percent more confidence we can get the portraits restored to their historic place.”

Auditor Zeigler said that he will release copies of the request Tuesday at noon at the Farmers Market Café in Montgomery. Zeigler will then speak to the River Region Republican Club. The public is invited to attend.

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