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Racist language could be removed from state constitution today

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Danny Johnston
/
AP

Alabamians have the opportunity to vote yes to ratify the state’s constitution today. The state’s original constitution was passed in 1901 and is filled with racist language. The new bipartisan constitution will remove racist language and arrange amendments by category and county.

Joshua Rothman is the chair of history department at the University of Alabama. He says the current constitution is complicated but he’s a supporter of the change.

“My understanding is that the amendment would kind of recompile some of those things and strip out some archaic language, racist language from it," he said. "If that’s the most that we’re able to do, then that strikes me at least one positive step.”

He mentions the constitution change possibility helping business but not being a guarantee.

“There might be a way in which if some of the racist language of the constitution is stripped out then it wouldn’t be something that people could point to as a reason not to go into business in the state. From what I understand what the amendment would do, I don’t see anything that would make any particular advantages in terms of the business climate.”

Voters will have the chance to vote on 10 amendments for this election.

Jolencia Jones is a student interns at Alabama Public Radio. During her first term in the APR newsroom, Jolencia has covered a lecture on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, and the local "Valentines for Veterans" effort, among other stories.
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