Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, has filed a bill seeking to replace the Jefferson Davis holiday recognized by the state with an appreciation day for state employees.
England has filed a bill to this effect multiple times in the past without gaining traction, as well as a bill to eliminate another state holiday recognizing Confederate general Robert E. Lee, which is currently celebrated in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Although that bill has not yet been filed, England is preparing that bill for this session as well.
Alabama is one of the few states left in the nation that still celebrates these Confederate holidays.
“You can’t quote Martin Luther King and then allow for somebody completely adverse to the thing you probably just quoted to be celebrated on the same day,” England said. “Alabama as a state needs to move on beyond celebrating those things that a substantial portion of state find objectionable or abhorrent.”
England said the bills aren’t about “erasing history” and that CRT won’t keep students from learning about such figures when studying about the Civil War.
“We have the ability to choose who we celebrate and who we revere,” England said. “There’s nothing in the history of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee or the Confederacy overall that deserve our reverence.”
Nine other Southern states celebrate at least one Confederate holiday during the year, but only Alabama and Mississippi still honor Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day and both Mississippi and Alabama have three Confederate holidays each year.