Why is Alabama’s state flag a red X?

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1965

Though Alabama entered the Union in 1819, it wasn’t until the state seceded from the Union in 1861 that Alabamans adopted a flag of their own. At the Secession Convention of January 11, 1861, distressed Alabama citizens decided to withdraw from the Union of the United States. At the same time, they adopted their own flag. Designed by a group of Montgomery women, the “Secession Convention Flag” became Alabama’s first official flag. Because Alabama had left the union, the flag was often referred to as the “Republic of Alabama flag.”

Republic of Alabama Flag,The Goddess of Liberty is depicted holding an unsheathed sword in her right hand and a flag with one star in her left hand. The words “Independent Now and Forever” are arched above her head.

The Republic of Alabama flag did not fly long. On February 10, 1861, one month after it was adopted, the flag was damaged in a severe storm and was moved to the Governor’s office, never to fly over Alabama again.

Without a flag of their own, Alabamans rallied under the flags of the Confederate States of America. From March 4, 1861 until April, 1865 one of two Confederate National Flags waved over Alabama soil.

After the war, the flag of the United States was raised over the state. It flew until 1891 when Alabama finally decided on a design for a unique state flag.

Four years later, on February 16, 1895, 76 years after being admitted to the Union, the Alabama Legislature authorized the “crimson cross of St. Andrew on a field of white” as its official flag in the Acts of Alabama. Reminiscent of the Confederate battle flag, it was designated that the crimson bars were not to be less than six inches broad and were to extend diagonally across the flag. Because Act 383 did not specify a particular format, the flag is sometimes depicted as a square and at other times depicted as a rectangle.

For 122 years the crimson cross has flown proudly over the state of Alabama.

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