Mississippi flag causes flap in S. California - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mississippi flag causes flap in S. California

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (FOX13) -

Some Southern California attorneys want the Mississippi state flag, the last in the nation to include a Confederate symbol, removed from a display at Santa Ana's civic center.

The Orange County Bar Association said the emblem symbolizes hatred and racism, because it displays the Confederate stars and bars. The association recently passed a resolution seeking the flag's removal from a display of flags from all 50 states at the civic center.

MORE: Mississippi flag causes flap in Santa Ana, Calif.

The Mississippi NAACP said the State of California has it right and they have been fighting for years to have the flag changed. There are also those in the Magnolia state who say the State of California has it completely wrong.

James Mathis, a field investigator for the NAACP in DeSoto County, who has been with the organization for 30 years, said the fact that the Confederate battle flag is part of the State of Mississippi flag makes him angry.

"I listen to my family talk about how we got our freedom, what my great, great grandfather had to do in order to get freedom and the way that we were treated," Mathis said. "You are still picturing us that way? Yes, it does incite racism because that is what it depicts. When you see that, that is what you remember, yes, it should be taken down."

Around the corner from Mathis, his neighbor Alexandria White of Southaven has a Confederate flag draped over her door.

"To be honest, it's not a matter of racism or hatred, it's a matter of heritage because back then that was the Mississippi flag," White said. "So it's not a matter of hate, because that's what some people believe. It's not a form or racism or hatred towards anyone."

Mathis said he recognizes his neighbor's right to fly the flag even though he doesn't like it. However he says the State of Mississippi is out of line by continuing to use the Confederate banner in the state flag. He says the attorneys in California got it right by asking for the flag to be taken down there.

"When you are depicting that as a state  or even the State of Mississippi, you are saying that Mississippi is not changing, Mississippi is still back in the state of the Confederacy," Mathis said.
 
His neighbor disagrees, and says the State of Mississippi got it right by including the Confederate battle flag in the state flag.
 
"Yes sir I do," White said. "Like I said, it's never been a form of racism, just a form of our heritage. It should be a part of everybody's heritage. They shouldn't think of it as racism. It's basically heritage I say.

Mathis said the lingering images of the Confederacy need to go.
 
"Because when you talk about the Confederacy, it means people fought to keep slavery, it means they fought to keep Black people and minority people of all the people other than Whites in servitude, and that's not the way it is," Mathis said. "This is America."

The association's efforts may be moot. City and county officials have been discussing ideas for renovating the plaza where the flags are, including the possibility of getting rid of the display.

Mississippians could have changed the flag 13 years ago. Former governor Ronnie Musgrove spearheaded a referendum vote on replacing the flag with a stars and stripes design. But after a vote in April 2001 the old flag with the Confederacy stars and bars won with 65-percent of the vote.

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