Bass: Stop attempts to change state song

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In regard to the third effort in recent years by a legislator to change our official state song, let me first say that our current state song, which was adopted in 1931 by the legislature, is a beautiful tune with lovely and dignified lyrics, appropriate to be sung at club meetings, gatherings and assemblies. My fellow college students and I played and sang that song on many occasions in the University of Alabama’s “Million Dollar Band” in the late 1960s.

It appears that some of our legislators need to refresh their memories of fourth grade Alabama history regarding Julia Tutwiler, a Tuscaloosa native, who was an educator, prison reformer and writer who penned the lyrics. Google her on Encyclopedia of Alabama and look at her contributions to the state of Alabama. A number of buildings on various college campuses are named in her honor.

Prior to Tutwiler’s death in 1916, Alabama clubwomen and some prominent men honored her by portraits, plaques, endowed scholarships, markers and published articles. The legislature in 1915 recognized her contributions. Such a change would serve not only to show disrespect but also to destroy another part of our Alabama heritage. It’s not about not liking change, it’s about keeping tradition.

If the state Tourism Committee wants a song to promote Alabama in TV ads, then play the tunes, “Stars Fell on Alabama,” (a love song) or “I Come From Alabama With the Banjo on My Knee,” but don’t change the state song. In fact, why shouldn’t each session of the legislature begin with the singing of “Alabama, Alabama, We will aye be true to thee…” which would be an example for the school children and teachers of Alabama to learn it and teach it?

Who knows, the way we are headed, the next generation of legislators may want to change it to “B-I-N-G-O!“

Sue Bass Wilson

President, Covington Historical Society