- Associated Press - Sunday, March 16, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Rep. Alvin Holmes approached the House floor microphones during a contentious debate on an abortion bill and landed in the national spotlight by saying 99 percent of white lawmakers would want their daughters to have an abortion if pregnant by a black man.

“You ain’t gonna have no little black baby - if you got two other white children, and then she’s gonna have a little black baby running around there in the living room or in the den with the rest of them,” said the Montgomery Democrat on March 4.

Holmes, who was one of the first blacks elected to Alabama’s Legislature, has become known for statements - sometimes outlandish, sometimes brutally direct and sometimes funny - during a political career that has spanned 40 years in a conservative Southern state with a long history of civil rights struggles.

Holmes earlier this session called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas one of history’s biggest “Uncle Toms.” He said there are some legislators, in his opinion, who are “first cousins to the KKK.” And his comments on the legislative floor have garnered thousands of hits on social media.

“He likes sensationalism and that is usually what he shoots for. It’s not the first time he has done it and it won’t be the last. But it sure gets him the attention,” Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, said.

Holmes, 72, came under fire from people who said he had gone too far.

Representative Holmes continues to spout racist and derogatory language on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives. Voters in his district should be embarrassed by him and should expect more from their representative,” Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said.

Holmes on Wednesday said he stands by his words. He clarified that that his point was that older Alabamians, in his opinion, still oppose interracial marriage and don’t want mixed race grandchildren.

“The younger whites, most of them don’t care,” he in an interview.

Holmes was elected to the House of Representatives in 1974 just four years after African Americans, who hadn’t served since Reconstruction, returned to the Legislature.

He filed the 1992 lawsuit that took the Confederate battle flag off the Alabama Capitol’s dome where it had flown as symbol of southern defiance. Holmes has openly criticized governors, both Democrat and Republican. He sponsored a constitutional amendment to remove an interracial marriage ban from the Alabama Constitution and unsuccessfully fought for years to get sexual orientation included in the state hate crime statute.

Holmes said one of the things that he is most proud of is convincing the house clerk to begin hiring African Americans into professional positions.

“When I was first at the Capitol, the only blacks were janitors and maids,” Holmes said.

The short, mustached Holmes, with his distinctively loud, impassioned, southern drawl with high-pitched punches, is now the longest-serving House member after being re-elected year after year.

Rep. John Rogers, who would probably come a close second with Holmes in an outspokenness race, said Holmes is well-liked and well-known.

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