Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered Confederate battle flags removed from Capitol grounds last week, following the tragic and apparently race-based shootings in Charleston.
But in Alabama, as in Georgia, the Confederate battle flag as a political issue had effectively been neutralized years ago.
Unlike Georgia, where the Confederate design was incorporated into the state flag in 1956, Alabama did not have a Civil War-themed flag. Rather -- and in the eyes of some, worse -- the Confederate battle flag flew separately above the Capitol in Montgomery, along with the U.S. and state flags. (It reportedly was put there in the early 1960s under the direction of the segregationist governor, John Patterson of Phenix City.)
As was the case elsewhere, it became more and more a divisive symbol in the 1980s and '90s. (Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, had been trying to get it taken down since his election to office in 1974.)
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Gov. Guy Hunt, elected in 1986 as the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction, resisted renewed attempts to remove the flag.
But Hunt was convicted of felony ethics charges and forced from office in 1993, to be succeeded by Democratic Lt. Gov. James "Little Jim" Folsom Jr., son of the legendary progressive governor of the 1940s and '50s.
Within a week of taking office as governor, Folsom quietly ordered the Confederate flag taken down from the Capitol and removed to a pole at the nearby First White House of the Confederacy.
"This has been a divisive issue in our state," Folsom said, "and I think it is time we put it behind us and move our state forward."
Folsom was defeated for re-election to a full term in 1994 by Republican Fob James.