By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, June 24, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley ordered State workers to take down all of the Confederate flags from state Capitol grounds. The controversial move was quick to draw support from several elected officials.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Selma) said in a statement, “The Confederate flag is a part of the South’s past, and that is where it should remain. I applaud Governor Bentley for removing the Confederate flag from the grounds of the State Capitol.”
Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) said regarding Governor Bentley’s decision to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the Capitol Grounds: “I support Governor Bentley’s action removing the Confederate Battle Flag from the Capitol Grounds. I believe only two flags should be flying on the capitol grounds: the flag of the United States of America and the flag of Alabama.”
On Wednesday, the House Black Caucus Chairman, state Representative John Knight (D-Montgomery) sent a letter to Governor Bentley applauding action taken to remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol grounds. State Rep. Knight said, “We agree that the flags are divisive in nature. For many Alabamians, the Confederate flag summons painful reminders of unfortunate periods in our State’s history. We believe the removal of the flags was an important step in the long process that remains to end the deeply rooted racial division in our State.”
Knight said in his statement that Black Caucus members plan to increase efforts to promote tolerance and close the racial divide in the state of Alabama.
Alabama House Minority Leader state Representative Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) said in a statement on Facebook, “The confederate flag is a symbol of our past, not our future. It belongs in a museum, not at the capital. The governor did the right thing removing the flags from the capital, but we still need to address the problems of racism and discrimination.”
The Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus State Representative Darrio Melton (D-Selma) said in his own statement, “Governor Bentley showed great wisdom and courage by standing on the right side of history, ordering the flag be removed from the Capitol. For too many years, the flag has flown as a symbol of both heritage and hate, and I firmly believe flags that fly on state property should be those that unite us rather than divide us. Together, as one Nation and one State, we can embrace the future.”
Gov. Bentley’s action were in response to a growing national backlash following the assassination of South Caroline State Senator Clementa Pinkney (D) and eight members of his Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church; apparently by White 21 year old Dylann Storm Roof, who announced he wanted to start a race war.
Supporter of the Confederate Battle Flag that used to fly over Confederate memorials in Montgomery say that the flag is about heritage not hate.
US Representative Gary Palmer disagreed saying, “At this point, it appears impossible to separate the Confederate Battle Flag from the historical injustices of slavery and Jim Crow. These injustices are inconsistent with my personal beliefs.”
Congressman Gary Palmer represents the Sixth Congressional District of Alabama. Congresswoman Terri Sewell represents Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.