State Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, has pre-filed a bill to permanently remove the Confederate battle flag from Alabama’s official coat of arms.
“Is it time? I have pre-filed a bill to remove the Confederate flag from Alabama coat-of-arms,” Hall said on social media.
The current coat of arms contains a shield adorned with all five flags that have flown over the state: the United States of America’s Stars and Stripes is in a shield in the center. It is surrounded by the British Union Jack, the Confederate States of America’s Stars and Bars, as well as the flags of Spain and France.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to set foot in what is now Alabama. The first European colony in Alabama was founded by the French in Mobile on 1702. The American colonists and Great Britain defeated the French in the French and Indian War from 1754 to 1763. Much of France’s North American holdings then became British holdings.
In the American Revolution, the British were defeated by the Americans. Spain intervened on the side of the Americans and took what is now Mobile and Baldwin Counties. The other 65 counties were awarded to the new United States.
General Andrew Jackson invaded Spanish Florida, which included the Alabama Gulf Coast due to alleged Spanish support for Creek Indians who had revolted. In 1819, Florida, including Baldwin and Mobile Counties, were ceded to the United States by treaty ending 154 years of Spanish rule in Florida.
Alabama became a state the same year.
Alabama and the other southern state seceded from the Union in 1861. The Union then invaded the South, forcing the Confederacy to surrender in 1865. Alabama has been part of the United States ever since.
Since the Civil War, the Confederate battle flag has been used by racist groups and is widely considered a symbol of white supremacism, though many Southerners also say it is a symbol of heritage. Earlier this year, Mississippi voted to remove the Confederate flag from its state flag.
The Confederate battle flag flew over the Alabama State Capitol in 1993. The flag was flown over the Confederate Veterans Memorial until then-Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered the flag removed.
Hall’s bill would need substantial Republican support to pass the Republican-dominated Alabama Legislature. The 2021 legislative session begins in just 55 days.