Alabama Symbols, Emblems, and Honors
Official Alabama State Coat of Arms
Image provided by Robert Sears
The Alabama state coat of arms consists of a shield with the emblems of the five governments that have held power over Alabama. The flags of Spain, France, Great Britain, and the Confederacy surround a small flag and shield of the United States. The large shield is supported on either side by bald eagles, symbols of courage. At the top is a model of a ship, like the ships used by the French colonists who settled near present-day Mobile. The motto, written on a yellow ribbon at the bottom, reads, "Audemus jura nostra defendere."
The original design of the Alabama coat of arms was made in 1923 by B. J. Tieman of New York at the request of Marie Bankhead Owen, Director of the Department of Archives and History. A few years later Naomi Rabb Winston of Washington, DC, painted the completed design in oil. Mrs. Owen selected the motto which was put into Latin by Professor W.B. Saffold, of the University of Alabama. Juliet Perry Dixon, wife of Governor Frank Dixon, urged the legislature to officially adopt the coat of arms.
The bill was introduced in the Alabama Legislature of 1939 by James Simpson, Jefferson County, and everyone in the legislature voted for the coat of arms.
Updated: Janaury 22, 2010