The History of the Alabama State Flag
Much like every other state in the Union, Alabama had flown a number of unofficial state flags before finally settling on an official flag that it continues to use to this day.
The First Unofficial Alabama Flags
The first mention of a state flag for Alabama comes during the Civil War. A flag of blue with a yellow star was flown to represent Alabama’s secession from the Union. Another flag, flown over the state capitol, showed different things on both the front and the back of the flag.
The front showed a woman holding the Alabama secession flag. Above her were the words “Independent Now And Forever.” The back showed a cotton plant with a snake coiled inside of it. Below it were the words “Noli Me Tangere” -- Latin for “Touch me not.”
This flag was flown throughout the Civil War and at least until Alabama returned to the Union in June of 1868. For the next 27 years, there would be no record of the state flag of Alabama.
The First and Only Official State Flag
The design of the official Alabama state flag came in 1895. For years, the citizens of Alabama had wanted to assert the state’s distinctive character with a unique flag.
The design of the Alabama state flag was authorized by the Alabama legislature on February 16, 1895. According to Act 383, which outlined what the flag would look like, the design was as follows: a crimson cross of St Andrew on a field of white.
Act 383 further specified that the bars forming the cross were to be six inches broad and must extend diagonally across the flag. However, the act did not designate whether the flag was supposed to be square or rectangular. Many images of the flag shown soon after its adoption in 1895 have the design on a rectangular flag.
Much of the core of the design came from the sponsor of Act 383 in the first place: Representative John W. A. Sanford, Jr. Sanford is said to have based his flag design on the battle flag of the 60th Alabama Regiment.
Sanford’s design has remained largely unaltered since. In 1905, there was a proposal to add stars to the flag, which would make it look more like the Confederate battle flag. However, the proposal was denied and no stars were added.
The next attempted alteration came in 1987. The Alabama Department of Archives and History asked the Alabama Attorney General’s Office to investigate. They were then asked to issue their own opinion on the shape of the Alabama state flag. On June 29, 1987, the Attorney General’s Office issued their response.
They concluded that there was no official guideline in Act 383 which said whether or not the flag of the state was supposed to be square or rectangular. Since the flag had been depicted as rectangular in print since 1895 and in the Alabama Official Statistical Register since 1907, convention dictated that the flag was rectangular.
Following the ruling by the attorney general’s office, the AL flag was not altered further in any way, shape or form.
Here at Vispronet, we’re proud to offer our version of the Alabama state flag, as close to the original as we can get it. Features of our Alabama flags include:
- Durable polyester construction thanks to our Polyflag material.
- Metal grommets for hanging.
- Four different flagpole options.
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- Flag of Alabama
- Alabama State Flag
- Office of the Attorney General