US

Head of civil-rights group: Confederate symbols are 'treason,' should not be in public spaces

  • Rep. Jim Evans, D-Jackson, gestures while saying Confederate symbols need to be removed from public spaces, including the Mississippi state flag, at a news conference at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Evans said the images are offensive and reminders of the state's racist and repressive past  and is divisive to a large segment of the population. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Rep. Jim Evans, D-Jackson, gestures while saying Confederate symbols need to be removed from public spaces, including the Mississippi state flag, at a news conference at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Evans said the images are offensive and reminders of the state's racist and repressive past and is divisive to a large segment of the population. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Charles Steele Jr., national president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference says Confederate symbols represent “treason” and need to be removed from public spaces, including from the Mississippi state flag, at a news conference at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Steele says Confederate names should be taken off of schools and public buildings across the South, including the predominantly black Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Alabama. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Charles Steele Jr., national president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference says Confederate symbols represent “treason” and need to be removed from public spaces, including from the Mississippi state flag, at a news conference at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Steele says Confederate names should be taken off of schools and public buildings across the South, including the predominantly black Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Alabama. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Charles Steele Jr., national president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference says Confederate symbols represent “treason” and need to be removed from public spaces, including from the Mississippi state flag, at a news conference at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Steele says Confederate names should be taken off of schools and public buildings across the South, including the predominantly black Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Alabama. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Charles Steele Jr., national president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference says Confederate symbols represent “treason” and need to be removed from public spaces, including from the Mississippi state flag, at a news conference at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Steele says Confederate names should be taken off of schools and public buildings across the South, including the predominantly black Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Alabama. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)  (The Associated Press)

The national president of a civil-rights group says Confederate symbols represent "treason" and should be removed from public objects, including the Mississippi state flag.

Charles Steele Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference says Confederate names should disappear from streets and structures. He says that includes the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, named for a Confederate general who became a Ku Klux Klan leader. Police attacked civil-rights marchers there in 1965.

Steele said at the Mississippi Capitol on Wednesday that the state should remove the Confederate battle emblem from its flag.

Since the massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, two weeks ago, some Mississippi leaders have called for a state banner that would unify people. Gov. Phil Bryant says voters should decide the flag's fate.