Inexplicably, the Confederate symbol still flies in Mississippi as a part of its state flag. Despite having the largest black percentage of black people of any state, Mississippi still sees fit to fly one of the most notorious symbols of white supremacy. There is hope that nationwide momentum for the removal of Confederate monuments will help change that.
Mississippi state legislators are drafting legislation to remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag, according to CBS News. This is the first time in almost 20 years that any action has been taken by the state to change the flag. The Mississippi state flag has the Confederate emblem on its upper left side and flies in front of multiple state buildings, including the Governor’s mansion. On Monday, this new proposal was sent before the state Senate Constitutional Committee. The proposal seeks to change the flag through legislation and not through a ballot vote.
This a move that Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has opposed, telling reporters in a press conference last Monday that the decision should be made by voters and not politicians. A petition to remove the symbol from the flag has garnered over 140,000 signatures so far.
“I love my state, it’s just that my state doesn’t always love me back,” Jarrius Adams, a 22-year-old activist in Mississippi told CBS News. “Myself, and so many other people my age, can’t be black or an activist and be silent on Confederate symbols such as the flag. For so many people it represents this history that was not welcoming of our community, not inclusive, and in many cases just disregarded the contributions that our people have made to Mississippi and the nation.” Adams said.
From CBS News:
The proposed alternative, and one that flies in front of many homes in Mississippi already, is the Stennis Flag, a design with 19 blue stars around one large star to commemorate the state’s induction into the United States in 1817. But the flag faces its own criticism: Its designer and namesake, Laurin Stennis, is the white granddaughter of the late U.S. Senator John C. Stennis, an outspoken segregationist who voted against the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
Citing Senator Stennis’ voting record, Adams said he was uncomfortable with the replacement.
“I totally understand that, but if they’re good with the design, they recognize the momentum we have and they can understand that this is, you know, a white person cleaning up another white person’s mess,” Stennis said during a telephone interview with CBS News on Monday.
The effort to remove the flag comes amid renewed calls to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces. In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam has declared his intention to remove multiple confederate monuments, NASCAR has banned Confederate flags from being displayed at races and the armed forces have banned the Confederate flag from its bases.