Alabama Gov. Removes Confederate Flag Before It Becomes A 'Distraction'

Justin Streight

On Wednesday, employees removed four Confederate flags from a memorial in the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Governor Robert Bentley said it was best to get rid of them before they became a major distraction, and admitted the order was inspired by the growing outcry after the South Carolina church shootings.

According to Newsweek, the governor gave the order to take down the flags, explaining that it was best to do it before they become a "distraction."

"This is the right thing to do. We are facing some major issues in this state regarding the budget and other matters that we need to deal with. This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward. I have taxes to raise, we have work to do. And it was my decision that the flag needed to come down."

According to USA Today, the flags were unceremoniously taken down by five employees in yellow landscaping uniforms. The final banner was removed at 10 a.m.

There are still plenty of reminders of Confederate pride in Alabama. Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee are commemorated with their own state holidays, which are now also under fire.

Moreover, there are Confederate flags in both the Old Senate and House chambers.

State Representative Alvin Holmes says he will introduce legislation to remove the controversial flag from all state buildings.

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, called Bentley's order a "step in the right direction."

"In today's political climate, [the flags] sent a message of divisiveness. I think some might argue they weren't put up in reverential fashion, they were put up in a historical way. But I think the more prudent thing to do is what the governor did."

Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina, has also called for the Confederate flag to be removed from that state's capital. Unfortunately for her, in South Carolina, it takes a two-thirds vote in both legislative chambers to bring it down.

Businesses are also reacting to the Confederate flag controversy. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Warner Bros. will stop licensing replicas of the "General Lee" car from the Dukes of Hazzard. The car featured the banner on the roof.

Mississippi, which has the Confederate flag design as part of its actual state flag, is also under intense scrutiny. Alabama was quick to act, but for Mississippi and South Carolina, it won't be so easy.

[Image Credit: Getty Images]