Dear Sunflower County:
Today the NAACP and the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP renewed their call to the Mississippi State Legislature for the immediate removal of the Confederate battle symbol embedded into the heart of the Mississippi flag. Both organizations have long opposed this flag, and their urgent demand comes as corporations, religious organizations, and the sports industry join in unprecedented calls for its removal.
The Mississippi State Flag is historically offensive to all Americans, particularly to Black Americans. For 126 years, this flag has flown over the State of Mississippi as a symbol of slavery, white supremacy, and racial hatred. Mississippi has the highest percentage of black residents of any state; yet it flew the only flag in the nation bearing a confederate emblem. This is beyond unacceptable.
As a Mississippian and a citizen of Sunflower County, I stood with the Sunflower County NAACP in its fight for the removal of the Confederate flag at the Sunflower County Courthouse in January of 2016. The next step for us was to request that Mississippi Delta Community College remove the Confederate flag from all of its campuses in 2018. The vote was successfully taken to remove the Confederate flag.
It is unconscionable that this brazen symbol of white supremacy continues to fly in the year of 2020, especially at such a historic moment. We have witnessed a time in history when people of every race have joined together to combat systemic racism throughout this nation. Our state leaders must recognize that the Confederate flag does not represent Mississippians and should not fly for one more day.
The flag is a constant reminder of a time when black Mississippians were not viewed as human beings due to the ruling idea of white supremacy. Over the course of history, many black Mississippians have fought and made sacrifices to build a state that treats all citizens with dignity and respect.
However, our current state flag remains a constant symbol of division and racial hatred.
We all must be committed to tearing down the walls of systemic racism and injustice that divides us.
The Mississippi State Conference was formed in 1945 and has been at the forefront of all major civil rights’ battles in Sunflower County and the state of Mississippi.
MS State Conference has a revolving membership of more than 11,000 individuals in at least 74 counties of the 82 counties in Mississippi.
This is a seismic shift for the state of Mississippi to remove the state flag. Removing the current flag should have a major economic impact for the state going forward. Mississippi has been in limbo for so long and the world can now view us from a different lens. The State has been overlooked for so long and has ranked on the bottom of almost every statistical category. Now it has no reason why it should not be able to rise to the top in economy, education, and social justice. Going forward, we should be able to put more on the table to compete with other states now. The veil has been lifted from the eyes of Mississippians for life. Many thanks to the Mississippi Legislators who had the courage to vote for change. We would like to dedicate this historical moment to those that have fought and sacrificed with their lives for change.
The MS NAACP advocates for the economic, educational, political, and social justice for all people to ensure a society that is free from racial discrimination and division.