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Debate about the Mississippi flag

Last modified: 2012-03-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: mississippi |
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image by Paige Herring, 1 April 1998
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Clarksdale Mayor Removes State Flag

From the Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi) at

State flag to be removed from Clarksdale property

Mayor decides outcome after vote along racial lines
From staff and wire reports

The state flag will no longer fly on city property in Clarksdale. Mayor Henry Espy cast the deciding vote in a resolution to remove the flag. "This is not a vote against the flag, but about the pain and suffering it has symbolized for many years," Espy said after the Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners voted along racial lines on Monday. State law does not require cities to fly the Mississippi flag, officials with the Secretary of State's office said Wednesday. Commissioner Ed Seals said Coahoma County residents supported a design change with a 51.8 percent majority in the April 2001 statewide referendum on the state flag, which has the Confederate emblem in the upper left corner. Statewide, the flag referendum failed by a margin of 64.4 percent to 35.6 percent. Proponents of the change said the Confederate emblem is a reminder of slavery to black people, who constitute about 36 percent of Mississippi's population. The city of Clarksdale is about 69 percent black.

Public Works Director James Butler said the only places that will be affected are City Hall, fire stations and the Civic Auditorium. "The schools are controlled by the school board, and the Park Commission controls their own flags," Butler said. "Although Clarksdale Public Utilities is owned by the city, their board controls their buildings."

Phil Nelson, 9 January 2003