Lawmakers Want to Give Mississippi’s Flag a Face Lift

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jun 10, 2020

For 126 years, Mississippi’s state flag has included the Confederate flag emblem and on June 8, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the state drafted a resolution to have the emblem removed, Mississippi Today reports.

According to Mississippi Today, about a dozen lawmakers from both sides of the Statehouse aisle met about changing the flag—the only state flag in the country to use this divisive symbol—and then met with Speaker of the House Philip Gunn (R-Miss.), who unsuccessfully advocated for revising the flag in 2015. If the resolution passes, lawmakers would swap in the Stennis Flag instead.

Yet the push faces real resistance by Mississippi’s governor Tate Reeves who said he thinks citizens should be the one to decide, not lawmakers. “I spent much of 2019 telling the people of this state what I believe is there is going to come a time at some point I’m sure, when the people of Mississippi are going to want to change the flag,” Reeves told Mississippi Today. “My position is, when they want to do that, it should be the people that make that decision, not some backroom deal by a bunch of politicians in Jackson.”

In response, actress Aunjanue Ellis, who grew up in the state and still resides there, released a video on Instagram yesterday (June 9), and spoke directly to the governor’s wife, Ellie Reeves, about the flag’s painful history. “The reality is that flag has been at the site of church burnings, church bombings, assassinations, shootings,” said Ellis. “There are photos of little White children waving that flag during meetings of the White Citizens’ Council when the council made and instituted policies of segregation. It is a shared iconography of the Ku Klux Klan, a terrorist organization no better than Al Qaeda.”