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Debate continues during Alabama holiday in honor of Confederacy

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) – If you tried to call a state office today, you probably had no luck. On the first Monday of every June, Alabama recognizes Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ birthday as a statutory holiday.

Some Alabamians disagree with this designation.

“Confederation did not benefit all Alabamians. He wrote into law that some Alabamians would be deprived of the benefits of freedom,” said Alabama Democrats political director Dexter Strong.

Strong says he thinks people have the right to celebrate whatever they want, but thinks the state should stay out of it when it comes to honoring the Confederacy.

“If we value freedom as a society, we won’t be celebrating this holiday,” Strong said.

In the last legislative session, Democratic Rep. Chris England introduced bills to scrap Confederate-related holidays. His failed proposal would have made today State Employee Appreciation Day instead.

But former Alabama Confederate Veterans Sons Division Commander Carl Jones said eliminating that party and others like it would be erasing history.

“I think the whole story should be preserved. As for Jeff Davis in particular, he was an American hero,” Jones said.

Jones says he thinks the Confederacy is being singled out unfairly, given other Founding Fathers who held views that also don’t align with modern ideas of equality.

“Do we erase all their monuments? Do we remove celebrations? Confederate holidays, Confederate street names, school names, those things are easy targets for people who want to erase history,” Jones said.

Jefferson Davis was born in Kentucky, represented Mississippi in Congress, and in 1861 was sworn in as President of the Confederacy in Montgomery.

Alabama also recognizes Confederate Memorial Day in April and Robert E. Lee Day in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January.


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