Mississippi rids its state flag of the Confederacy
The Southern state was the last in the U.S. to still have the racist emblems on its flag.
In James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, he writes: “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
Lately America has been receiving a lot of criticism, and rightly so. In response to all the Black Lives Matter protests, the Mississippi state legislature has passed a bill to remove the confederate emblem from their state flag. The bill passed by a vote of 91-23 in the House and 37-14 in the Senate.
“I would guess a lot of you don’t even see that flag in the corner right there. There are some of us who notice it every time we walk in here, and it’s not a good feeling,” said Black state representative Ed Blackmon during a public comment section on the ruling on Saturday, June 27.
Up until earlier this month, most state residents were in favor of keeping the flag the way it is, as it is symbolic of their ancestors who fought for Mississippi in the Civil War. In 2001, voters decided against a change.
But after a few influential businesses and sports centers, including NASCAR and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) condemned the flag, people began changing their minds.
By Thursday, June 25, polls were showing that 55% of Mississipians wanted to see the flag change.
There are still a lot of myths and misconceptions about what the confederate flag represents, among those who proudly fly it outside their homes or even wear it on their clothing. Many claim that it is simply about Southern heritage, but it is inherently racist.
In the Cornerstone Address, Confederate Vice-President Alexander H. Stephens gave a speech where he outlined the meaning of the Confederacy.
“Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition,” he said.
This decision to remove the Confederate emblem from Mississippi’s state flag is long overdue and is further proof that protests can make a difference.
“My ancestors were beaten and traumatized, and it was under that flag. There a lot of moments when I’m not proud to be from Mississippi, but this is definitely a moment that I’m extremely proud to be from Mississippi,” tweeted 22-year-old activist Jarrius Adams in response to the ruling.
Mississippi was the last remaining state to have the confederate emblem on their flag, and removing it is a huge step. But for true racial equity, it’s crucial that the state continues to take bigger strides.