The stain was there from the start. In his opening remarks, the president of Alabama’s 1901 constitutional convention declared a major goal of the event was “within the limits imposed by the federal Constitution, to establish white supremacy in this state.”
The resulting document effectively removed the voting rights of African Americans and poor white people. Federal courts have overturned most of the discriminatory provisions, but the shameful evidence of this legacy persists in Alabama’s constitution.
Alabama Arise is committed to recognizing, teaching about, and repairing the damage that state lawmakers perpetrated for generations through codifying racism and racist practices. Racist language and the harmful provisions flowing from it have no place in our state’s most important legal document. That is why we urge Alabamians to vote “Yes” on the recompiled state constitution on Nov. 8, 2022.
In 2020, Alabama voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment authorizing the Legislative Services Agency to clean up and consolidate the constitution and remove explicitly racist content and illegal provisions that have since been repealed. The Legislature approved the proposed revisions in the 2022 regular session without a dissenting vote.
Examples of deleted racist language include references to separate schools for Black and white children and the prohibition of interracial marriages. The recompilation also strengthens Alabama’s prohibition of slavery by removing language that allows involuntary servitude “for the punishment of crime.”
Arise’s recommendation: Vote ‘Yes’
On Nov. 8, 2022, Alabama voters will decide whether to authorize those changes by adopting the recompiled state constitution. Arise recommends voting “Yes” on the recompilation, which will appear on the ballot as the Constitution of Alabama of 2022.
The changes in the recompilation wouldn’t address all of the problems with Alabama’s constitution, including harmful limits related to tax policy and local governance. But they still would move Alabama, and our constitution, in the right direction. Arise urges Alabamians to vote “Yes” to help move our state forward.