Alabama Confederate Flag Controversy

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STATE OF ALABAMA
Montgomery, Alabama
Office of the Legislative Analyst
June 21, 1988

MEMORANDUM FOR THE GOVERNOR

FROM:[NAME WITHHELD], Legislative Analyst

SUBJECT:Flying of Confederate Flag over Capital Building

ISSUE:Presentation of analysis for your decision:

BACKGROUND: The office of the Governor has received several demands by members representing the state’s chapter of the NAACP to remove the Confederate flag (“flag”). Earlier this year 13 African-American legislators were arrested for trespassing and as they attempted to remove the flag for the capital. The issue at this time is to examine the merits of taking action to either remove the flag or to continue the current practice.

ISSUES: The flag was raised over the state capital in early 1960 by then Governor Gorge Wallace and remains today. When Governor Wallace raised the flag he made publicly clear this was his response to pressure by the U. S. Attorney General (Kennedy) in regards to the civil rights movement. In the 1970’s a legislator (Alvin Holmes) opined that it was inappropriate to fly the flag above the American flag. It was only after public and media attention subsided, that Wallace discretely changed this practice, citing an explanation that was not connected to media or public pressure.

STAKEHOLDERS: While the flying of the flag poses no physical threat or danger to the citizens of Alabama, the banner itself hold distinctive emotional connotations for different groups of stakeholders. These stakeholder include both internal, (state groups and constituents) and external, (tourism, media and federal government).

Opponents include African-American constituents and advocate groups who view the flag as a socially disuniting symbol, which represent the portion of the Confederate history that included the practice of slavery. Proponents include party conservatives with a high voting record who view the flag as a part of historical struggle that included the deaths of...
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