When State Auditor Jim Zeigler addressed the Coosa County Republican Party Tuesday evening, he had a surprising announcement to make – Zeigler told his co-partisans in Rockford that his months-long effort to restore the position of the official portraits of former Gov. George Wallace and and his wife and successor Gov. Lurleen Wallaceb may soon end in victory.
Zeigler told the gathering of Coosa GOP-ers his conversations with state officials in charge of historical preservation had “at long last” began to augur progress.
“I requested a meeting with the new Acting Director of the Alabama Historical Commission. Because she is a defendant in a pending legal case about the Confederate flag removal, she correctly decided that I should instead meet with the new Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Jim Day of Montevallo,” Zeigler said, telling the assembled crowd he found a receptive audience in Dr. Day.
“He has drawn a diagram of my plan to return the Wallace portraits to the rotunda while preserving the spots of the most recent four governors in the second floor rotunda and maintaining the chronological order of the other governors’ portraits,” Zeigler said. “This proposal will be placed on the agenda of a meeting of the Alabama Historical Commission.”
“I believe that we are very close to righting this wrong and having the two Wallace portraits returned to where they historically were and legally should be,” he concluded.
Zeigler cited a joint resolution – Act. No. 83-57, HJR 10, from February 2, 1983 – passed by the Alabama Legislature which states:
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That the official portrait of Governor George C. Wallace is of such significant historical importance that it shall be displayed in the center rotunda of the first floor of the state capitol from this date henceforth.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be sent to Governor Wallace and the Alabama Historical Commission so that they may know of our intent that this historic portrait will be forever displayed.
A concurring Act regarding Lurleen Wallace was also passed, a clear sign of the Legislature’s intent on the issue.
Zeigler said the news was heartening for those who honor Alabama’s history, and an affirmation the rule of law.
“The law is clear. The intent of the legislature is clear,” he concluded.
“Some Montgomery bureaucrats decided to revise history and ignore the intent of the legislature to suit their own politically correct agenda. The restoration of the Wallace portraits to the rotunda will right this wrong.”