MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Longtime State Representative Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) is joining the NAACP in demanding the Confederate flag be removed from the uniforms of Alabama State Troopers, and asking Governor Robert Bentley to issue an executive order making it happen.
The Confederate battle flag is included in the Alabama coat of arms alongside the four nations that have controlled the state’s territory throughout history: Great Britain, France, Spain and the United States. The coat of arms is worn by each state trooper as a uniform patch.
“As you know, the confederate flag represents slavery and oppression toward black people,” Holmes wrote to Bentley, adding that he hoped Alabama had moved passed that “ugly part of Alabama history.”
A Bentley Administration spokesperson said the governor has no plans to alter the troopers’ uniform.
Governor Bentley earlier this year ordered the removal of Confederate flags from the grounds of the Alabama Capitol in the wake of nine people being killed in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.
“This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward,” Bentley said at the time. “I have taxes to raise, we have work to do. And it was my decision that the flag needed to come down.”
He has reiterated recently that he believes his decision was the correct one.
— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) June 24, 2015
Many Alabamians took issue with the removal of the flags though, expressing concerns that history was being whitewashed in the name of political correctness.
“Today, the Governor removed a flag from the Capitol grounds that stood proudly above a Veteran’s monument,” said State Senator Clay Scofield (R-Arab). “A monument to men, and yes, women also, who fought, bled, and died in battle. The monument doesn’t represent hate. It definitely doesn’t represent a sick, twisted coward that goes into a church full of love and kills good, innocent people. It represents our history and that can’t be changed. It represents veterans and they should be honored.”
As for Representative Holmes, he has been a lightning rod for controversy over the years.
According to the Associated Press, “Holmes was one of 14 African-American legislators arrested for trespassing in 1988 when they tried to scale a fence and take down a Confederate flag that, at that time, flew atop the Alabama Capitol dome. The flag was later removed from the dome in the 1990s.”
In 2014, he called US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom” and criticized his interracial marriage while speaking at the mic on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives.
“I think Justice Thomas on the United States Supreme Court is an Uncle Tom,” he later told Fox News. “A black man allowed himself to be used to carry the message of a white man, which is against the interests of black people in America. In my opinion that’s an Unlce Tom. In my opinion, Clarence Thomas is a very prolific Uncle Tom.”
Earlier that same year he took to floor of the State House to declare that 99 percent of his white colleagues would demand their grandchildren be aborted if they found out the child was mixed-race.
“Ninety-nine percent of the all of the white people in here are going to raise their hand that they are against abortion,” Holmes said. “On the other hand, 99 percent of the whites who are sitting in here now, if their daughter got pregnant by a black man, they are going to make their daughter have an abortion.”
A month later Holmes said men should be allowed to marry mules.
“Now, I’m for interracial marriage,” Holmes said after a long diatribe claiming most white Alabamians are not. “I’m for same-sex marriage. I’m the one that introduced the bill to have same-sex marriage. I don’t care who marry who. If a man meet a little mule and he wanna get married to the little mule, as long as he and the little mule get along all right, that’s fine with me. It doesn’t bother me any kind of way.”