Official Symbols and Emblems of Alabama

State Flag of Alabama

 image of State Flag of Alabama


History - The Alabama State Flag was authorized by the Alabama Legislature on February 16, 1895, by Act number 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 were to extend diagonally across the flag from side to side. The act did not designate a square or a rectangular flag.


Over the years there has been much confusion and speculation over the shape of the Alabama state flag .  Prior to publishing the 1915 Alabama Official and Statistical Register,  Dr. Thomas Owen, director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History interviewed  individuals who had been around at the time that the bill was introduced.  He concluded that the flag was intended to “preserve in permanent form some of the more distinctive features of the Confederate battle flag, particularly the St. Andrew’s cross”  Owen then made the conclusion that the flag should be square, based on the “regulations governing the Confederate battle flag.”  However,  these regulations which applied to one version of the Army of Northern Virginia battle flag were not always followed by flag manufacturers during the Civil War and rectangular St. Andrew’s Cross battle flags were common in the Army of Tennessee.  Furthermore, the earliest images of the state flag published soon after the adoption of the flag all depicted a rectangular flag.

In 1987 the Alabama Department of Archives and History asked the Office of the Alabama Attorney General to investigate and issue an official opinion on the shape of the state flag (link to http://www.ago.state.al.us/oldopinions/8700238.pdf).   The opinion established that the modern Alabama state flag should be rectangular in shape.



Display - The Code of Alabama states that the state flag should be flown over the dome of the Capitol when the two houses of the Legislature are in session and should be used  by the state on all occasions when necessary or customary to display a flag, except when the Governor determines that the national flag should be displayed.


In 2001 the Alabama Legislature expanded regulations related to display of the state flag in the Alabama State Flag Act. According to the Acts of Alabama, 2001-472: "(a) Each facility or building located in this state that is affiliated with any department or agency of the state and supported in whole or in part by public funds, shall prominently display the Alabama State Flag, in accordance with appropriate flag display protocol, on a flag pole or flag poles located near the main entrance of each facility or building. Any facility or building that is not in public view or open to the general public, or is used only for storage or other warehouse purposes, may be exempt from the requirements of this section at the discretion of the director or chief official of the department or agency.

"(b) Unless otherwise acquired pursuant to gift, donation, or other means, the flags and flag poles required by this section shall be purchased by the applicable department or agency within three years after August 21, 2001."


Under an Act approved September 26, 1923, the flag of the State, as well as the flag of the United States, is required to be displayed every day on which school is in session, at all schools in the State which are supported even in part by public funds. In 2001 the law was expanded to require state flags to be flown at county courthouses, state offices, and municipal buildings.


Salute - Flag of Alabama I salute thee. To thee I pledge my allegiance, my service, and my life.


Other official flags
On January 11, 1861, the Secession Convention passed a resolution designating a flag designed by a group of Montgomery women as the official flag of the convention. 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 an unsheathed sword; in the left a small flag with one star. In an arch above this figure were the words "Independent 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 February 10, 1861, when it was removed to the Governor's Office after it was damaged by severe weather. 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, either the First National Flag or the Second National Flag. After the end of the Civil War, the United States Flag was used for all official occasions.


National flags that have flown over Alabama.


Act 1895-383, Acts of Alabama, February 16, 1895.
Act 23-444, Acts of Alabama, September 26, 1923.
Alabama State Emblems, Alabama Department of Archives and History, nd.

Alabama Official and Statistical Register, 1915

Alabama Attorney General's Opinion, June 29, 1987.


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Updated: February 6, 2014