A Confederate battle is brewing in Mississippi.
A cadre of athletes, authors, actors, musicians, business leaders and judges signed a letter calling for the removal of the Confederate insignia from the state’s flag. The letter appeared in a full-page ad in Sunday's Clarion-Ledger newspaper.
Mississippi’s state flag features three stripes, of red, white and blue, with the Confederate emblem in the top left corner.
“It is simply not fair, or honorable, to ask black Mississippians to attend schools, compete in athletic events, work in the public sector, serve in the National Guard, and go about their normal lives with a state flag that glorifies a war fought to keep their ancestors enslaved,” the letter said. “It’s time for Mississippi to fly a flag for all its people.”
Actor Morgan Freeman, quarterback Archie Manning, author John Grisham and musician Jimmy Buffet were among those who signed the letter.
“It’s time for Mississippi to fly a flag for all its people”
Mississippi last voted on changing the state flag in 2001, with the current form being retained by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.
“Think of America in 1931 and then in 1945 – that’s 14 years, and a tectonic shift in national identity,” author Greg Iles, who signed the letter, told the Clarion-Ledger. “Think of 1961 and 1975. The confederate flag is no longer a viable state or national symbol in 2015.”
Gov. Phil Bryant has noted the previous vote and said he has no plans to call a special session on the matter, according to the Clarion-Ledger. A newspaper survey of the state’s lawmakers found 64 supported changing the flag, 24 opposed it, nine were undecided and 96 wouldn’t respond.
The removal of Confederate symbolism became a hot topic following the shooting deaths of nine people in a black South Carolina church. The alleged gunman, Dylann Roof, was pictured wearing a confederate flag shirt and writing about wanting to start a race war on a website that is believed to have belonged to him.