The Alabama State Coat of Arms

Some Alabama History You May Not Know


"We Dare Defend Our Rights"

In 1939, the official coat of arms for the state of Alabama was adopted by both houses of Legislature without a single dissenting vote. The coat of arms consists of a shield on which appears the emblems of the five governments that have held sovereignty over Alabama. The flags of Spain, France, Great Britain, and the Confederacy are bound by the flag and shield of the United States.     

The shield is supported on both sides by bald eagles , symbolic of courage. The crest of the shield represents the Baldine, the ship sailed by Iberville and Bienville from France in 1699 to settle a colony near present-day Mobile, AL).

Beneath, the shield appears Alabama's state motto: "AUDEMUS JURA NOSTRA DEFENDERE" (Latin for "WE DARE DEFEND OUR RIGHTS"). 

The original design of the Alabama coat of arms was made in 1923 by B. J. Tieman, New York, an authority on heraldry, at the request of Marie Bankhead Owen, Director of the Department of Archives and History. A few years later Naomi Rabb Winston, 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. It was through the influence of Juliet Perry Dixon, wife of Governor Dixon, that official action was taken by the legislature.

The act to adopt an official Coat-of-Arms for the State of Alabama was approved March 14, 1939, Act no. 140.

 (See All State Coats of Arms here.)

Acts of Alabama, March 14, 1939
Alabama State Emblems, Alabama Department of Archives and History, n.d.