Residents want the Mississippi flag changed in order to remove the Confederate battle symbol.
A group consisting of more than 60 people has signed an advertisement that appeared in Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger Sunday demanding the removal of the Confederate symbol from Mississippi’s flag. The advertisement took up a whole page in the publication and was signed by current and former residents of the state.
The letter was also signed by celebrities like actor Morgan Freeman, musician Jimmy Buffett, author John Grisham and football player Archie Manning.
The title of the letter is “A Flag for All of Us” and it includes a touching message about how the flag should represent all of the residents of this state, regardless of their skin colour. They do not consider it honourable that the black residents of the state have to live under a flag that reminds them of a war that was meant to keep their ancestors enslaved.
They believe it isn’t fair that they have to go to public schools, work in the public sector and serve their state, while being reminded of the pain of their ancestors.
As the Confederate emblem is part of the Mississippi flag, the state had to deal with the same demands before. In 2001, a referendum was held in Mississippi to determine whether or not the flag’s design should be changed. Most voters opted for the same design so the flag remained the same.
The executive director of Beauvoir, Greg Stewart declares himself not impressed with the residents’ gesture. Moreover, voices say it is highly unlikely that Mississippi will remove the symbol from its flag.
Greg Stewart believes that there is no evidence that the symbol on the flag is in fact hurting businesses. As an example he mentions that many hip-hop artists have already appropriated the symbol on the flag and he thinks that this is proof that the symbol is not offensive.
A majority of the people who signed the letter are former residents of Mississippi that no longer live in the state. This might have a negative impact on the way that the public opinion judges the aim of this letter.
John Bruce, a political science professor from the University of Mississippi, believes that most residents want to keep the symbol on their flag as a sign of rebellion. He could draw this conclusion from the changes in public opinion during the referendum that took place in 2001.