Plan to remove racist language from Alabama Constitution moves forward

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A late arrival walks up the steps of the illuminated Alabama Capitol in Montgomery. Ala., as Gov. Don Siegelman delivers his State-of-the-State address inside, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2000. Lawmakers and educators can be seen gathered in the windows of the House chamber on the second and third floors of the Capitol. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Lawmakers in Montgomery are close to finalizing a plan to remove racist language from the state’s 120-year-old constitution.

Last year, voters an effort to remove the racist language from the Alabama Constitution, as well as condense or recompile its roughly 1,000 amendments. It is currently the longest known constitution in the world.

“Though it’s irrelevant, the racist language needs to come out and it’s a long time coming,” committee member Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said.

The Legislative Services Agency is in charge of creating a plan to do just that along with public and committee input.

Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Hill, will chair the committee. She said transcripts from the 1901 Constitutional Convention make its purpose by the men who drafted it clear.

“And they were real about what their intent was,” Coleman said. “That document itself and spirit in which it was created was to disenfranchise not only black folks, or African Americans in the state of Alabama, but poor whites.”

Members hope to have a plan finalized by November and then present it to the Legislature next January when they return for the 2202 session.

If approved there, the revised constitution would go before Alabama voters in November 2022.

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