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Debate continues over Alabama holidays honoring Confederacy

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) —  If you tried calling a state office today, you were likely out of luck. On the first Monday of every June, Alabama recognizes Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s birthday as a state holiday.

Some Alabamians disagree with that designation.

“The Confederacy did not benefit all Alabamians. It enshrined into law that certain Alabamians would be removed from the benefits of freedom,” Alabama Democrats Political Director Dexter Strong said.

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 celebrate these holidays,” Strong said.

Last legislative session, Democratic Rep. Chris England introduced bills to do away with Confederate-related holidays. His failed proposal would have made today state employee appreciation day instead.

But Past Division Commander of Alabama’s Sons of Confederate Veterans Carl Jones says eliminating this holiday and others like it would be like erasing history.

“I think all history needs to be preserved. As far as Jeff Davis specifically, he was an American hero,” Jones said.

Jones says he thinks the Confederacy gets unfairly singled out, considering other founding fathers who held views that don’t match with modern ideas of equality either.

“Do we wipe all their monuments out? Do we do away with the celebrations? Confederate holidays, confederate street names, school names, those things are easy targets for the 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 the 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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