South Carolina

Effort to strip Confederate emblem off state flag is failing

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 file photo, a state flag of Mississippi is unfurled by Sons of Confederate Veterans and other groups on the grounds of the state Capitol in Jackson, Miss.An effort to erase the Confederate battle emblem from the Mississippi flag is failing because sponsors didn't gather enough signatures to put an initiative on the 2018 ballot. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 file photo, a state flag of Mississippi is unfurled by Sons of Confederate Veterans and other groups on the grounds of the state Capitol in Jackson, Miss.An effort to erase the Confederate battle emblem from the Mississippi flag is failing because sponsors didn't gather enough signatures to put an initiative on the 2018 ballot. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE -In this Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016 file photo, Gov. Phil Bryant sits under a flag display, with both the American flag and the Mississippi state flag, during a retirement ceremony for outgoing state Army and Air National Guard Adjutant Gen. Augustus Leon Collins at the Mississippi National Guard Joint Force headquarters auditorium in Jackson, Miss. An effort to erase the Confederate battle emblem from the Mississippi flag is failing because sponsors didn't gather enough signatures to put an initiative on the 2018 ballot. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

    FILE -In this Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016 file photo, Gov. Phil Bryant sits under a flag display, with both the American flag and the Mississippi state flag, during a retirement ceremony for outgoing state Army and Air National Guard Adjutant Gen. Augustus Leon Collins at the Mississippi National Guard Joint Force headquarters auditorium in Jackson, Miss. An effort to erase the Confederate battle emblem from the Mississippi flag is failing because sponsors didn't gather enough signatures to put an initiative on the 2018 ballot. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)  (The Associated Press)

An effort to erase the Confederate battle emblem from Mississippi's flag is failing because sponsors haven't collected enough signatures to put an initiative on the 2018 ballot.

The petition drive started in response to the June 2015 slayings of nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and was part of a movement across the South to rethink the public display of Confederate images.

It appears certain to end Friday with insufficient signatures.

Mississippi has had the flag since 1894, and voters reaffirmed its design in 2001. But seven of the state's eight public universities and several cities and counties have stopped flying it amid criticism that it's a reminder of slavery and segregation in a state with the largest percentage of black residents in the nation.