Wilson wins 1st round in fight to keep state song

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Andalusia resident Sue Bass Wilson’s costumed appearance before the state legislature last week produced the desired results, at least for now.

Wilson, who is president of the Covington Historical Society, dressed as the late Julia Tutwiler, the pioneering Alabama woman who penned the state song, which begins “Alabama, Alabama, we will aye be true to thee,” and is seldom heard outside fourth grade Alabama history classrooms.

Wilson went to Montgomery to protest a bill proposed by Democratic Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow of Red Bay, which would make “Alabama” the state anthem and designate “Stars Fell on Alabama,” a 1934 jazz standard, as the state song. Morrow said he proposed the change because tourism officials want a more “recognizable” song to use in the promotions.

While Wilson and other historians are lobbying to keep “Alabama,” Morrow said other factions prefer Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” and still others want the country group Alabama’s “My Home’s in Alabama.”

Morrow’s bill came out of committee on Tuesday, but he said he doesn’t plan to try to pass the bill this year. Instead, he wants the Alabama Tourism Department to put a poll of about 20 Alabama-related songs on its Web site and let people vote on their favorite. Then he will use the results to write a new bill for the 2011 session.

Wilson’s not falling for the ploy.

“He may think we’ll back up, but we’re just getting revved up,” she told the Associated Press Tuesday.

She said she’s received lots of feedback since her appearance last week, adding she hasn’t been able to work for answering phone calls and emails.

She said a Web site is being developed in support of the efforts and should be available at www.savethealabamastatesong.org within 24 hours.