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Mississippi’s Flag: The Issue May Be Coming to a Head Again

JACKSON, Miss.–Thirteen years ago Mississippians voted to keep the state flag with the Confederate “Stars and Bars”. Lately there has been a new wave of calls for the legislature to take it off the pole.

Sunday’s incident at Ole Miss, where a Georgia flag, pre-2003, with the “Stars and Bars”, was draped over the statue of James Meredith, has sparked some discussion from the state’s NAACP president, Derrick Johnson, who says he was part of a lawsuit in the 1990s to get the flag removed.

He said Tuesday that he is still resolute about taking the flag down.

“It’s a symbol that has prevented the NCAA from playing games in the State of Mississippi,” he said. “We must move beyond our past and not continue to remember a legacy based in racial hatred in a way in which it doesn’t empower all Mississippians.”

He’s not the only one. State Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones (D-Canton) recently called for a change to the flag. The California Bar Assoc. said it would not display Mississippi’s flag because they believe it represents racial hatred.

Mississippi’s flag was adopted in 1894.

On Tuesday’s “Head to Head” on SuperTalk Mississippi, hosts Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross opened the phone lines to see not only what Mississippians thought about the Ole Miss incident, but also about the state flag, and whether it should be changed.

“I’d love to hear from somebody elected to public office in the State of Mississippi to explain to me one reason not to change our current flag that is offensive to many,” said Cross.

“It’s a shame that I see every other SEC school getting to put their state flag on their helmets and we can’t because of the history. So it may be time to let the change happen,” said one caller. “It’s gonna have to be a legislative thing because I don’t believe the voters will change it.”

“It’s a part of history and I’m tired of hearing racism this and racism that, the state flag is the state flag. Get over it,” said another caller.

“It’s just a stupid flag and it’s time to make a change,” said another.

“Slavery was under the American flag. Under the American flag we slaughtered the Indians,” said a caller. “You’re saying most of the people in Mississippi are uneducated and can’t make a choice. You said it had to be done legislatively.”

If the show is any indication, most of the callers seemed to favor changing the flag if it is a hindrance to Mississippi’s progress.

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