On Saturday, the Associated Press asked why the anti-Confederate flag sentiment that swept through much of the country during the summer somehow passed over Mississippi.
Efforts to remove the flag and statues associated with the Confederacy were seen in Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, among other states following the June 17 attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
But the Confederate flag logo remains in the Mississippi state flag and there are no serious legislative calls to change that. AP reports Gov. Phil Bryant (R) made clear he “wouldn’t call Mississippi legislators into special session this year to debate the flag.”
There are disparate pushes to get rid of the flag, but nothing around which everyone is unified.
For example, Mississippi House speaker Philip Gunn (R), who is also “a leader in his local Baptist church,” said his “faith” convinced him that Confederate flag is “a point of offense that needs to be removed.” But the Sons of Confederate Veterans and other proponents of the flag responded to Gunn with signs and bumper stickers which said, “Keep the Flag. Change the Speaker.”
Some who want the flag removed point to the fact that state legislative session ended in April and they believe things would have turned out differently if the Charleston church attack had happened while the session was ongoing. Susan Glisson, director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, said: “If the (Mississippi) Legislature had been in session at the time the Mother Emmanuel tragedy happened, I think the momentum and the pressure to remove the symbol at that time would have carried the day. The emotion and the shock of that was very powerful… It’s easy for emotions to subside.”
But Lt. Governor Tate Reeves (R) summed up the what seems to the predominant view among state officials when he expressed no interest in blaming Mississippi’s state flag for the actions of a gunman in South Carolina. Moreover, he said that if any serious action was considered it should come from the people, not lawmakers.
Reeves said: “The people of Mississippi voted, overwhelmingly, in 2001 to keep our state flag as it currently exists. And I believe the only way the flag should be changed is if the people of our state decide to change it.”
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