The people's voice of reason

"Sweet Home Alabama" We Celebrate Her 200th Birthday in 2019

Having come to Alabama as a bride at age 20, I was elated to find welcome in the Alabama Blackbelt of Dallas, Perry, and all surrounding counties. Loving history, I became absorbed in the State and her History. Little did I know that I would teach her History for many decades and never tire of it.

Mrs. Bobbie Ames

Let's look at the emblems that reflect her history and share them with young people who have lost the study of true Alabama History in the new era in which we live. Thanks to the State Archives, it is available to us all. Make a visit in 2019.

The Alabama Great Seal is an inspirational place to start. In 1817, William Wyatt Bibb was appointed governor of the brand new Alabama territory. He realized that he needed an official seal for his commissions and for other state papers. With permission of President Monroe and a law appointed by Congress, the territorial governor was authorized to select the design for a seal. Governor thought the best place to start was to have a map of the territory showing it's rivers. It also showed the territories surrounding the Alabama territory. Later these became states also.

In 1819, when Alabama became officially a state, the legislature designated the seal as the Official State Seal. The State Seal remained unchanged until the Reconstruction period when the State Seal was abolished and a new Seal put in its place. It showed the beak of an eagle with the words,"Here We Rest." This seal was used for 71 years for official documents and letterheads.

In 1939, a bill was introduced by the Legislature to restore the original seal as "The Great Seal of Alabama". The bill was unanimously approved by the House and Senate. Around the new emblem were the words "Alabama Great Seal. "Governor Frank Dixon approved the new law and a new seal was created by Act no 20.

State Flag of Alabama

No official state flag existed from 1819 to 1861.

On January 11, 1861 the Secession Convention passed a resolution designating a flag designed by a group of Montgomery women as their official flag. This flag has often been referred to as the "Republic of Alabama Flag."

One side of the flag displayed the goddess of liberty holding in her right hand the sword; in the left hand, a small flag with one star. In an arch above the figure were the words, "Independence Now and Forever." On the other side of the flag was a cotton plant with a coiled rattlesnake. Beneath the cotton plant are the Latin words: Noli Me Tangere, (Touch Me Not)

This flag was flown until Feb. 10, 1851, when it was removed to the governor's office after it was damaged by a severe storm. It was never flown again.

From March 4, 1861, until General James H. Wilson's occupation of Montgomery in April 1865, a Confederate national flag was flown. After the end of the Civil War the national flag was flown for all official occasions.

The present Alabama State flag was authorized by the Legislature in February 16, 1895, by Act 383. According to the Acts of Alabama, 1895, the state flag was to be a crimson cross of St. Andrew on a field of white. The bars forming the cross were not to be less than six inches broad and must extend diagonally across the flag from side to side. The act does not designate a square or a rectangular flag.

The Alabama flag is to be flown on the dome of the Capitol and is to be used by the state on all occasions when it is customary to display the flag.

In 1923, an Act was approved that mandates the state and national flags be flown every day when school is in session, and at all schools in the State which are supported even in part by public funds. ( Acts of Alabama, 1893 and 1923)

Official Alabama State Song

The words to our State Song was written by Julia S. Tutwiler, a distinguished educator and humanitarian. It was first sung to an Austrian air, but in 1931, through the interest of the Alabama Federation of Music Clubs, the music written by Mrs. Edna Gussen of Birmingham, was adopted by the Legislature as the official State Song. The bill was approved by Gov. B. M. Miller. Act 128 adopted the words and the music as the State Song of Alabama, Acts of Alabama, March 1931.

The many Emblems of our State may be found on Alabama State Emblems from the Alabama Department of Archives and History. This is a fascinating read.


Words by Julia S. Tutwiler

Music by Edna Gockel Gussen

1 - Alabama, Alabama,

We will aye be true to thee,

From thy Southern shore where groweth,

By the sea thine orange tree.

To thy Northern vale where floweth

Deep and blue thy Tennessee.

Alabama, Alabama

We will aye be true to thee!

2 - Broad the Stream whose name thou bearest;

Grand thy Bigbee rolls along;

Fair thy Coosa-Tallapoosa

Bold thy Warrior, dark and strong.

Goodlier than the land that Moses

Climbed lone Nebo's Mount to see

Alabama, Alabama,

We will aye be true to thee!

3 - From thy prairies broad and fertile,

Where thy snow-white cotton shines.

To the hills where coal and iron

Hide in thy exhaustless mines.

Strong-armed miners--sturdy farmers:

Loyal hearts what'er we be.

Alabama, Alabama,

We will aye be true to thee!

4 - From the quarries where the marble

White as that of Paros gleams

Waiting till thy sculptor's chisel,

Wake to like thy poet's dream;

For not only wealth of nature,

Wealth of mind hast thou to fee.

Alabama, Alabama,

We will aye be true to thee!

5 - Where the perfumed south-wind whispers,

Thy magnolia groves among,

Softer than a mother's kisses

Sweeter than a mother's song;

Where the golden jasmine trailing,

Woos the treasure-laden bee,

Alabama, Alabama,

We will aye be true to thee!

6 - Brave and pure thy men and women,

Better this than corn and wine,

Make us worthy, God in Heaven,

Of this goodly land of Thine;

Hearts as open as our doorways,

Liberal hands and spirits free,

Alabama, Alabama,

We will aye be true to thee!

7 - Little, little, can I give thee,

Alabama, mother mine;

But that little--hand, brain, spirit,

All I have and am are thine.

Take, O take the gift and giver.

Take and serve thyself with me,

Alabama, Alabama,

I will aye be true to thee.

Alabama's Creed

A Statement of Faith

"I believe in Alabama, a state dedicated to a faith in God and the enlightenment of mankind; to a democracy that safeguards the liberties of each citizen, and to the conservation of her youth, her ideals and her soil. I believe it is my duty to obey her laws, to respect her flag, and to be alert to her needs and generous in my efforts to foster her advancements within the statehood of the world."

Sources, Acts of Alabama, July 29, 1953


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