Mississippi Native Faith Hill Urges Change to State Flag
A debate over the Mississippi state flag is grabbing headlines following the May death of George Floyd. As people and institutions throughout the United States lobby to eradicate symbols of racism and the country's history of slavery, some — including Mississippi native Faith Hill — are pressing to change the flag, which features the Confederate flag.
On Thursday (June 25), Hill, who was born and raised in the Jackson, Miss., area, spoke up about the conversation going on in her home state on Twitter, telling the Mississippi legislature: "It’s time to change the state flag."
"I am a proud MS girl and I love my home state. When I think of Mississippi, I think of my mom and dad, the church I grew up in, high school football, and where I fell in love with music," the country star writes. "Now, it is time for the world to meet the Mississippi of today and not the Mississippi of 1894 (when the MS legislature voted on the current flag)."
During the four-year Civil War, the Confederate States of America used three different flags: a "Stars and Bars"-style flag, and then two different designs that incorporated the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, the flag that is today known as the Confederate flag. As the Civil War centered around slavery, and because the segregationist Dixiecrat party employed it as a symbol in the 1950s, the flag is now considered a racist symbol, though some argue that displaying the flag is a sign of Southern pride.
"I understand many view the current [Mississippi state] flag as a symbol of heritage and Southern pride," Hill explains, "but we have to realize that this flag is a direct symbol of terror for our Black brothers and sisters."
NASCAR recently banned Confederate flags at its races and venues, and in Mississippi, although the flag has not officially been changed, at least one city mayor, Johnny Magee in Laurel, has ordered the removal of state flags from all public buildings and facilities. The flags are being donated to the county library.
“There comes a point in time in the annals of history when it becomes necessary to redefine who a people are, and what a collection of these people represent,” Mayor Magee says. “It is the opinion of the mayor of this city that now is such a time.”
In 2001, Mississippi residents voted 64 percent to 35 percent to keep the state flag's original design; however, a new poll shows that 55 percent of people surveyed on behalf of the Mississippi Economic Council want the flag changed. Lawmakers in the state are currently working toward a vote on the matter.
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