Protests renew calls to rid Mississippi state flag of Confederate emblem

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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — There’s now renewed efforts to have Mississippi’s state flag redesigned.

The flag, which is the last in the nation to contain the Confederate battle emblem, has been at the center of controversy for years. Even as a resolution to replace the flag was being drafted Thursday, opinions remained strong.

“That flag has flown for so many years, and it has a lot of good meaning to it and very little bad … in my eyes,” Clinton, Mississippi, resident George Lee said.

Protests over the murder of George Floyd have once again brought the flag that has the Confederate battle emblem in the corner to the front and center in a longstanding debate over its design and message.

“The current Mississippi flag design aligns our state with a shameful, hateful chapter in our nation’s history,” Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray said.

Rep. Jackson-McCray said many of her constituents in DeSoto County are in favor of a change

“If a flag is to be a symbol of pride and unity among citizens, it must represent those ideals for all people,” she said.

Gov. Tate Reeves made it clear that voters who decided in 2001 to keep the state flag as-is should be the ones to decide its fate, even as nearly 100,000 people have signed a petition to replace the flag.

Leadership at DeSoto County’s NAACP said elected officials need to follow the will of the people.

“And it is up to them to represent us at this time to change the flag of Mississippi so that we may become a part of this movement that’s going on right now to change America,” said Rev. Dr. Charlie Reese, communications coordinator for DeSoto County NAACP.

With restrictions imposed by COVID -19, it’s uncertain whether the resolution to change the flag will be debated during this current legislative session.

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