Time to Restore Integrity in Government!

Governor Roy Barnes

Governor Barnes is the highest ranked elected official in the State of Georgia and is expected and has a duty to insure integrity in Government. As Governor he is expected to set the style and tone of State Government in Georgia.

Lets examine some of our governor's actions on this issue, to see if he is exhibiting "integrity in government." Using his official web-site gives some real clues on this issue. Page by page can be searched without even finding a Georgia State Flag! But hidden in the index is a link to the history of our Georgia State Flag.

Lets see what this material says (quoting from the State of Georgia official web site):

In early 1955, Atlanta attorney John Sammons Bell (who later served as a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals) suggested a new state flag for Georgia that would incorporate the Confederate Battle Flag. At the 1956 session of the General Assembly, state senators Jefferson Lee Davis and Willis Harden introduced Senate Bill 98 to change the state flag. Signed into law on February 13, 1956, the bill became effective the following July 1.
A copy of the new flag displayed at the 1956 signing ceremony shows slight differences from the state flag currently in use (and shown above). In the 1956 version, the stars are larger and only the center point of the central star points straight up. Also, the first copies of the 1956 flag used a different version of the state seal. In the summer of 1954, a new redrawn state seal began to appear on state government documents. By the end of the decade, flag makers were using the new seal on Georgia's official state flags.

While this above information is true, what the governor has done, in addition to not displaying his own State flag, is only present part of the true history. Here below is some of the information that has been left out:

Question: Who proposed that the Georgia flag be changed to reflect the Cross of Saint Andrew rather than the Stars and Bars?

Senator Willis Neal Hardin and Senator Jefferson Lee Davis introduced the bill that was drafted by the same man who designed and created the Present State Flag, State Democratic Party Chairman and Civil War buff John Sammons Bell. The new design was created because the old Confederate design had become "meaningless" in the words of Bell. He wanted to forever perpetuate the memory of the Confederate soldier who fought and died for his state. (Authority: Interview with John Sammons Bell by Vivian Price published in the 'DeKalb News/Sun,' page2-F 13 July 1988.)

If our governor, wanted to end the falsehoods that are being spread about our State flag, he would have included the reason that the flag was changed in 1956. It was changed in honour of the men from Georgia, the Georgians who fought and died defending our State.

Question: Is it just a coincidence that the flag was changed two years after the Brown vs. Board of Education case in the U.S. Supreme Court?
It must be remembered that Confederate patriotism was running high in 1956. On January 20 1956 it was announced that the Civil War Centennial Committee would be formed to plan commemorative events for the 100th anniversary of the War between the States. This coincided with the deaths of the last remaining Confederate veterans. The last soldier in Georgia died in 1952. The last soldier of the entire Confederacy died in 1959. In the years between, the old veterans were one by one passing away. A great deal of sympathy was felt throughout the South for the old soldiers and many commemorative activities took place. (Authority: The Atlanta Journal, 20 Jan. 1956, page A-5; 'The South's Last Boys in Gray' by Professor Jay S. Hoar, University of Maine.) 

Question: Some have claimed that the 1954 school desegregation decision by the U.S. Supreme Court stimulated the change in 1956. Is this true? 

Concerning those who claim that the flag was "... designed as a last desperate gasp of defiance against integration," Judge Bell said "Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth ... every bit of it is untrue." He further stated that "Anybody who says anything to the contrary is wrong or perpetuating a willful lie." (Authority: Interview with John Sammons Bell by Vivian Price published in the 'DeKalb News/Sun,' page2-F 13 July 1988.)

Question: Some claim that Hardin, Davis and Bell might not be willing to tell the truth that they might have tried to hide their 'real' purpose. Could this be true? 

These gentlemen denied any such impropriety. In the year 1956 several newspaper accounts of the proposed change in the GEORGIA FLAG were published. In none of the articles was there any hint that the flag change was for any reason other than that stated by the gentlemen who proposes the change. (Authority: The Atlanta Journal, 2 Feb. 1956, page 6; The Atlanta Constitution, 2 Feb. 1956, page 8; The Atlanta Journal/Constitution, 5 Feb. 1956, page C-1; The Atlanta Constitution, 10 Feb. 1956, front page; The Atlanta Journal 10 Feb. 1956, page A-4.)

Question: Isn't it true that these gentlemen would not have admitted to any motivation concerning defiance of integration in 1956? 

Any reading of the newspapers in 1956 shows that politicians who believed in defiance of integration were not at all reluctant to say so in the news interviews. In fact some thought that political advantage could be gained by such positions. (Authority: The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution during the period of 1954 to 1956.)

If our governor wanted to clear this issue up, to provide good government for the People of Georgia, he would point out that on January 20, 1956 then President Eisenhower announced the 'Civil War Centennial Committee' requesting States to plan events to Commemorate the War. Even the Atlanta Journal featured an article on Confederate Veterans at the time.

One would think that a State's Governor would have enough respect for men that gave their life defending our State, veterans, to use his influence to quiet those who slander, discredit and misrepresent our State flag, our State's History and a majority of its citizens.

But lets look at his actions and words to determine if he is displaying "integrity in government":

The box below contains the summary of the efforts that Governor Barnes has made to insist that elected politicians in the Legislature tell the truth and to resist the ones that insist on discrediting the history of Georgia, the South and this memorial to veterans.


That's right, it is empty. Governor Barnes is playing politics with our State Flag; he is doing nothing to discourage politicians who deliberately mislead the public.

Mr. Roy Barnes is the Governor of Georgia, and I invite you to take another look at his picture above, from his web-site. Wouldn't you expect to see a governor's State Flag, in his official picture? In fact as you check the official State of Georgia web-site it is very hard to even find a picture of our State flag. No wonder, Governor Barnes is making no effort to insist that the truth be told on the Georgia State Flag. He is playing politics with our State flag, playing politics with this memorial to our State's veterans and if you can't trust a man when the facts are obviously known to him, it says a lot!

We believe that he deserves to hear about this, and to be informed that the citizens of Georgia expect more from our Governor. Take a few minutes and let him hear from you.

To contact Governor Barnes:
The Governor does not publish an email address (I guess that he doesn't really want to hear from Georgians), only a somewhat complex form at the following link:, however we offer another way to email the Governor. Send your message to: and we will print it and mail to the Governor's office.

By phone: 
404-261-1776 Mansion
404-656-1776 Capitol

By mail:
The Honorable Roy E. Barnes
State Capitol Building 
Constituent Services Room 111 
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

By fax: 404-657-7332

 By e-mail: 

By webpage e-mail form: 

More on the Georgia Flag Fight
Time to Restore Integrity in Government!