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Alabama Governor Orders Confederate Flags at Welcome Centers

March 5, 1996

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ Gov. Fob James ordered state welcome centers to start flying the two official flags of the Confederacy on Monday, each with the Confederate battle flag in the upper left corner.

``That makes us 100 percent historically correct,″ James said on his weekly radio show.

The eight welcome centers along the state line display all the flags that have flown over Alabama. They flew the Confederate battle flag until 1993, when then-Gov. Jim Folsom ordered it replaced with the less controversial Stars and Bars, used by the Confederacy when it was organized in 1861.

The Confederate battle flag _ white stars on a blue X with a red background _ is flown by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.

South Carolina is the only state that still flies it over the Statehouse. Mississippi and Georgia incorporate the design in their state flags.

Callers to James’ radio show had encouraged him during the past four weeks to restore the battle flag.

``What Fob James has done is a weak step in the right direction, and we’re not satisfied,″ Roger Broxton, chairman of the Confederate Heritage Fund in Andalusia, said Monday.

James said Stars and Bars _ with two stripes of red and one of white _ wasn’t officially adopted by the Confederate Congress because it was too similar to the Union flag.

The first official flag, adopted in 1863, had a white field with the Confederate battle flag in the upper left corner. It was modified in 1865 with a red vertical stripe on the right side.

James said those two flags belong at welcome centers since they were officially adopted.

``Fob James has proven to the black people of the state he’s not a friend of theirs,″ said state Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham. Rogers, who’s black, added that the new flags are a negative image for the welcome centers.

``He’s just showing people coming to Alabama how stupid we are _ that we’re still fighting the Civil War,″ he said.

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