Should Alabama Consider Changing Its State Flag
With the recent debate about South Carolina removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds, talk is growing concerning some state's flags.
The "Confederate Battle Flag" or the "Rebel Flag" as it's sometimes known, was rejected as the national flag in 1861. It was instead adopted as a battle flag by the Army of Northern Virginia, the Confederate States Navy and the Army of Tennessee.
According to a 2011 Pew Research poll, 30% of Americans have a "negative reaction" when "they see the Confederate flag displayed." The poll also found that 9% of Americans have a positive reaction and 58% have no reaction.
In the same poll, a plurality (44%) of those asked viewed the flag as a symbol of racism, with 24% viewing it as exclusively racist and 20% viewing it as both racist and symbolic of pride in the region.
For the last 39 years, this flag has been flown atop the Capitol dome in Columbia, South Carolina. When recent photos surfaced of Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooter Dylann Roof holding the battle flag, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for its removal from the grounds of the state Capitol.
This has now sparked debate over five other states, having symbols of the old Confederacy form part of the state flags themselves. Those in question are:
Mississippi, the only state flag still incorporating the Confederate battle emblem.
Arkansas' flag features four stars and the name of the state inside a diamond.
Georgia's flag incorporates elements of the first national flag of the Confederacy, known as the "Stars and Bars."
Florida's flag strongly resembles Alabama's and some say was designed to resemble the blue saltire of the Confederate Battle Flag.
And lastly, the flag of the state of Alabama has come up for debate with the same issues being discussed as with the Florida state flag.
According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Dr. Thomas Owen concluded that the flag was intended to “preserve in permanent form some of the more distinctive features of the Confederate battle flag, particularly the St. Andrew’s cross.” Owen then made the conclusion that the flag should be square, based on the “regulations governing the Confederate battle flag.”
On the other hand, the design of the Alabama flag also bears resemblance to several other flags. It is identical to the flag of Saint Patrick, incorporated into the Union Flag of the United Kingdom to represent the union of the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland. Except for the Great Seal in the center, it is almost identical to the Flag of Florida, which has its heritage in the Spanish Cross of Burgundy flag.
Now retailers like Wal-Mart, Sears and eBay are dropping Confederate flag-emblazoned products as are Target, Amazon and Etsy.com. In a similar move, Virginia will start phasing out license plates featuring the flag.
Let us know what you think...