The Confederate flag of Mississippi is the last to come down

By: Alanderia Whitlock

Hate crimes used with Confederate imagery

In recent years, there has been an evident increase of domestic terror attacks in the United States. Hate groups are at an all-time high and racial symbolism, in the form of flags, statutes, and monuments are all over the United States and the world. The combination of hate crimes and Confederacy symbolism have been a part of Southern (United States South) pride and heritage for decades. And currently, the United States remains divided on the perception, symbolism, history, and meaning of  the Confederate flag. This is especially the case, in the state of Mississippi, the very last state to remove the Confederate flag. The symbolism of the Confederacy  makes some people uncomfortable and actually imposes on their perception of safety. Where there are Nazi flags present, it is not odd to see a Confederate flag nearby.

Understanding our state flag

 

On Sept. 12, 2017, the ”Understanding Our State Flag” forum in Ocean Springs was presented at Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education by the Mississippi Rising Coalition, in partnership with the League of Women Voters. The night featured a presentation on the history of the Mississippi state flag of 1894 followed by a moderated public discussion. There are supporters of the flag that express it is heritage and Southern pride; however, there are opponents of the flag that believe it is a symbol of oppression and white supremacy.

Terror in Charlotteville (Aug. 2017)

Just a few weeks ago, shortly after the terror of the Charlottesville, Unite the Right rally, the Mississippi Legislative’s Black Caucus proceeded to request Gov. Phil Bryant to call a special session to address the Mississippi state flag. The suspect, James Alex Fields Jr., who was associated with the Vanguard America, drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. The rally in Charlottesville, VA, resulted in the death of Heather Heyner and the injury of many others.

Making America “Great” with hate

Over the 2016 presidential campaign, the number of hate groups in the United States rose 17%, that number now sits at 917 organizations, according to data from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Some have spoken out against the offense that symbolism such as the Confederate flag and other divisive imagery is respected by some and actually flaunted.

Reminded from schools, public buildings and flag

Now, after the end of the Civil War, over 150 years ago, almost 200 schools are named after Confederate military and administrative officials. Children are continually taught to honor slave-owning heritage which happens to support the oppression of some children’s ancestors. Also considering, the designer W. T. Thompson, was an overt white supremacist that “fought to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race.” For many, this doesn’t bother them; however, for some, it is difficult to see the country’s progress as historically oppressive imagery stands.

 

Hope for change

In Mississippi, the final state to wave the Confederate flag, men of all races, tax-brackets, and ages have vowed to continue the journey of fighting for a state flag that represents all, respectfully. Even a group of Mississippi’s University History professors issued a recent statement  in support of removing the Confederate imagery from the state flag of Mississippi. Click here to read the full statement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mississippi Rising Coalition Community

A coalition of persons and groups committed to protecting and advancing the human & civil rights of ALL MS citizens via voter education and advocacy.

About Mississippi Rising Coalition

We acknowledge that this is a sensitive and controversial topic in the current local, state and national political climate; and the goal of this event is to provide a safe environment for Ocean Springs residents and other interested members of the public to learn accurate history and context and engage in open discussion.

This event is free to the public, and police will be present to provide security for the event.

Biography of Lea Campbell:

Ms. Campbell, a resident of Ocean Springs, MS, has been a healthcare professional since 2001 and a passionate advocate for the civil rights of all Mississippi citizens since establishing her residence in the state in 2011.  Ms. Campbell serves on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi ACLU and has collaborated with other social justice advocacy organizations including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Flag for All Mississippians Coalition, the We Are All Mississippi Coalition,  CAYA (Come As You Are), the Mississippi Rainbow Center, Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance and the Aids Healthcare Foundation. She is also a member of the Jackson County branch of the Mississippi NAACP, HRC Mississippi and the Steps Coalition.

 

 

 

 

Mississippi Rising Coalition Community

A coalition of persons and groups committed to protecting and advancing the human & civil rights of ALL MS citizens via voter education and advocacy.

About Mississippi Rising Coalition

We acknowledge that this is a sensitive and controversial topic in the current local, state and national political climate; and the goal of this event is to provide a safe environment for Ocean Springs residents and other interested members of the public to learn accurate history and context and engage in open discussion.

This event is free to the public, and police will be present to provide security for the event.

Biography of Lea Campbell:

Ms. Campbell, a resident of Ocean Springs, MS, has been a healthcare professional since 2001 and a passionate advocate for the civil rights of all Mississippi citizens since establishing her residence in the state in 2011.  Ms. Campbell serves on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi ACLU and has collaborated with other social justice advocacy organizations including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Flag for All Mississippians Coalition, the We Are All Mississippi Coalition,  CAYA (Come As You Are), the Mississippi Rainbow Center, Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance and the Aids Healthcare Foundation. She  is also a member of the Jackson County branch of the Mississippi NAACP, HRC Mississippi and the Steps Coalition.

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