Alabama Symbols, Emblems, and Honors

for Kids

Official Alabama Motto

Audemus Jura Nostra Defendere

image of Coat of Arms of the State of Alabama


"Audemus jura nostra defendere" is a Latin phrase on the state coat of arms completed in 1923. It has been translated as: "We Dare Maintain Our Rights" or "We Dare Defend Our Rights."


The idea for a motto came from Marie Bankhead Owen, the second director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History. She came up with the idea while searching for a phrase to be put on the state coat of arms. A part of a poem by the 18th-century author Sir William Jones includes the stanza, "What constitutes a state? . . . Men who their duties know, but know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain." The motto was translated into Latin by Professor W. B. Saffold, of the University of Alabama.



Act 39-140, Acts of Alabama, March 14, 1939

Birmingham News- Age Herald, April 23, 1939


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Updated: March 29, 2007