Alabama Recognizes Three State Holidays Celebrating the Old Confederacy
In a list published by the Alabama Department of Archives and History, the state has 13 official holidays. Three of these 13 holidays are Confederate-related days:
The birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King Jr. fall on the third Monday of January.
Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated on the fourth Monday of April.
The anniversary of Jefferson Davis' birthday is on the first Monday of June.
Alabama is one of five states celebrating the old Confederacy and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. Many states observe Confederate Memorial Day as an unofficial holiday. Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, and Mississippi are the states that have official Confederate holidays.
Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell, who represents Alabama's 7th district, said it is time to end the state holiday celebrating the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.
“The protests we’ve seen may have been sparked by George Floyd’s murder, but our nation’s racial divide is long and wide,” said Sewell following an event in Birmingham where demonstrators damaged a Confederate monument of a Confederate naval officer.
Steve Murray, the director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, said in an interview with Alabama Public Radio he doesn't predict the state doing away with the Confederate holidays.
"I would not predict it anytime soon, I think that there is enough sentiment and enough desire on the part of people who work hard to preserve remembrance of those who died in that war who mean there will be official recognition of that anniversary."
The difficult conversation about the state's controversial holidays will continue as people argue that they represent a time of oppression and racism towards black Americans. Many white southerners fight to defend the holidays in an attempt to preserve southern heritage.