David Davis 0

Change the Mississippi State Flag

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We, the members of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature who have signed below, ask Governor Phil Bryant, the Mississippi legislature, and the people of Mississippi to remove the Confederate battle flag from the saltire of the Mississippi state flag.

As scholars of southern literature, we share a special interest in Mississippi as the home of many excellent writers and the setting of many important works of literature. We value the state's people and its contributions to the culture of the United States.

We also realize that symbols have meaning. The Confederate battle flag has been appropriated as a symbol of white supremacy, and it has often been used to intimidate or demean African Americans. To use that symbol on the state's flag signifies that African Americans, who constitute more than one third of the state's citizens, have diminished status before the state's government.

In the recent past, other southern states have removed symbols overtly associated with white supremacy from their flags and from their public spaces. This is a good sign of progress, and it has led to increased economic development and decreased political marginalization for these states. We believe that the time has come for Mississippi to make this important change.

We stand with the University of Mississippi student senate, the administration of the University of Southern Mississippi, and several other institutions and organizations in asking that this symbol be changed to a more inclusive, progressive symbol. We also support the decision of institutions and individuals in Mississippi not to display the current state flag. We hope that the State of Mississippi will soon adopt a more representative symbol of its people.

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