Politics

Another Confederate Flag Could Topple

After the three top elected officials in South Carolina have called on their state to lower the Confederate flag from state capitol grounds, the speaker of the house in Mississippi thinks it's time that his state also make a move. While South Carolina has the Confederate flag flying at a Civil War memorial at its capitol, Mississippi's official state flag actually contains the Confederate battle flag's Stars and Bars.

"We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us," Speaker Phillip Gunn (R) said in a statement reported by the AP. "As a Christian, I believe our state's flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed. We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi's flag."

Mississippi added the Confederate Stars and Bars to its flag in 1894 -- at the dawn of the Jim Crow era and almost 30 years after the Confederate army surrendered to federal troops at the end of the Civil War.

There is currently a petition at MoveOn.org urging Mississippi to change its flag. It had nearly 6,200 signatures on Monday night.

Here is Mississippi's flag:

Flag of Mississippi

In 2001, Mississippi voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to remove the Stars and Bars from the state flag.

''The economic argument didn't work because they could never name a single business that left the state of Mississippi or didn't come here because of the flag,'' one voter told the New York Times in 2001. ''And the racism argument didn't work because all these white liberals were lumping all black people together as helpless victims, and that didn't go over too well with anyone.''

Today, Mississippi's current governor, Phil Bryant (R), says that the 2001 vote is reason enough to keep maintain the status quo.

"A vast majority of Mississippians voted to keep the state's flag, and I don't believe the Mississippi Legislature will act to supersede the will of the people on this issue," Bryant said in a statement reported by the AP.

Here was the proposed new flag:

Proposed Mississippi Flag