What Is the History of the Alabama State Flag?

What Is the History of the Alabama State Flag?

Alabama's original state flag was born during the Civil War in 1861, but its first incarnation was short-lived. As of 2015, Alabama has had the same state flag since the 1890s.

Although Alabama became a member of the Union in 1819, the state didn't have a flag until 1861, when Alabama seceded to join the Confederacy. A group of women from Montgomery designed the new flag at that year's Secession Convention. One side of the flag had the figure of the Goddess of Liberty, holding a sword in one hand and a flag with a gold star in the other hand, in the center. The phrase "Independent Now and Forever" arched over the goddess. The other side of the flag was a cotton plant with a coiled rattlesnake; the Latin words "Noli Me Tangere" – in English, "Touch Me Not" – appeared under the plant.

The original state flag of Alabama only lasted for a month before a storm damaged the flag. The Confederacy's flag replaced the state flag; when the Civil War ended, Alabama used the U.S. flag rather than its own.

The state government officially adopted a new design in 1895. This flag was a red St. Andrew's cross on a white background. The flag intentionally bears some resemblance to the Confederacy's flag. Since the Confederacy's flag was square, Alabama's flag were sometimes made in this unorthodox shape until a 1987 notice established that the state flag is officially rectangular.