In 1894, the Mississippi state flag was adopted to represent the state’s heritage and highlight its patriotism.
During the past week, several celebrities have voiced their disgust with the state flag. Jimmy Buffett, Morgan Freeman, Archie Manning and John Grisham collaborated to run an ad in the Clarion-Ledger to share their displeasure.
The ad reads, “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.”
In the original description, the canton of the flag, the upper left hand corner, is referred to as the “union square” and depicts the original number of States of the Union.
The issue is not what it is meant to depict; the issue is what the canton resembles—the Confederate flag.
The Confederate flag is viewed in today’s society as a symbol of racism and reminds many of a dark period in our nation’s history.
As a result, many are clamoring for the state to raise a new flag—one that does not relate itself to a period of racism and slavery.
Curiously enough, the state government tried to change the state flag over a decade ago, but the proposed flag was voted against.
In 2001, Governor David Musgrove signed a bill to replace the current state flag of Mississippi, but the bill was voted against at a nearly 2-1 clip, proving that residents of Mississippi truly did value the historical significance of the current flag.
However, would simply changing the state flag really make that big of a difference?
Realistically, if the flag were to change, the public would rejoice for a week or two, but who knows what kind of impact it would truly have.
While Mississippi residents were not ready for change in 2001, the time has arrived to act on raising a new state flag.
There have been some seriously heinous acts of violence that have crippled the nation over the past few years due to an unofficial, yet prevalent, war against racial minorities.
If the state government sits on its hands and does not try to change the current state flag, it is putting the public at risk of a similar act of violence occurring here in Mississippi.
That is a risk that should not be taken.
While a new state flag may or may not have a large impact, having an impact is not what raising a new flag is about.
It is about taking a step forward and facing the war on minorities head on. Mississippi, as a whole, has ignored the fact that its flag is offensive and has held on to it for far too long.
It is understandable that residents want to keep the current flag because of its historical significance and rich heritage, but we live in a new day and age.
The time is now for change in Mississippi.