The president of the Alabama N.A.A.C.P. and 13 other blacks were arrested on February 2, 1988 as they tried to scale an 8-foot fence around the State Capitol in an effort to take down a Confederate flag atop the building.
State troopers and Capitol police officers confronted State Representative Thomas Reed, the president of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and other black lawmakers at a padlocked gate leading to the building, which is closed for renovation.
The blacks contend the Rebel battle flag, flying from a cupola on the Capitol dome, is a racist symbol of slavery and black oppression.
The police were acting on orders from Gov. Guy Hunt, who wants legislators to decide whether the flag should continue to fly over the Capitol. He had promised that no one would be allowed to rip down a Capitol flag. Efforts in Other States.
”This is just the beginning of my effort to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Alabama Capitol,” Mr. Reed said after his arrest.
The N.A.A.C.P. also is campaigning to bring down a Confederate flag over the South Carolina Statehouse, and to remove rebel flags from the designs of the Georgia and Mississippi state flags.
Across the street from the Alabama Capitol, some people in a mostly white crowd of several hundred sang ”Dixie” and carried signs reading ”Save Our Flag,” and ”Heritage, Honor, Pride, Not Racist.” A smaller crowd of blacks sang ”We Shall Overcome.”