John Sammons Bell (26 January 1914-8 December 2006) was a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals from 1960 to 1979, serving as Chief Judge from 1969 to 1979. Bell introduced the 1956 state flag, which bore the Confederate flag on it, and it was repealed in 2001, shortly before his death.
John Sammons Bell was born in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia on 26 January 1914, and he graduated from the Gordon Military College in 1932, serving as captain of the football team and a senior cadet officer. He graduated from Mercer University in 1937, and he served as a Major in the US Army during World War II, receiving a Purple Heart for combat wounds during the 1943 New Georgia Campaign in the Pacific Ocean. In 1946, he was admitted to the bar, and he graduated from Emory University two years later. From 1954 to 1962, he served as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, and he became known as an outspoken supporter of segregation. He designed the 1956 state flag of Georgia, which conspicuously displayed the Confederate battle flag on its right side. In 1960, he ascended the bench of the Court of Appeals, and he was elected Chief Judge in 1969. His scholarship and talent were widely acclaimed (despite his racist views), and he served as Chief Judge for nine years. Bell died in 2006, just five years after his flag was replaced by one without the Confederate flag.