A non-Confederate flag

Mississippi: Court's ruling that flag is not official gives state a chance to cast aside racist symbol.

May 22, 2000

MISSISSIPPI has no state flag. The banner that everyone thought was the state flag incorporates the Confederate battle flag and has flown since the 19th century.

But the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that that flag is not official, giving Mississippi a chance to adopt one that all of its residents can salute.

Mississipians of all races -- it was the home of William Faulkner, Elvis Presley, Richard Wright and Muddy Waters -- deserve a symbol of pride. The new, official banner could carry images of the state's tree (the magnolia) or bird (the mockingbird). Or it could illustrate the state's name (a Native American word meaning "father of waters").

The Jackson City Council has done the right thing, voting to condemn the Confederate battle flag and denouncing any flag containing the divisive symbol. Mississippi legislators should follow suit and seize the opportunity the state's Supreme Court has provided to adopt a flag that will not slap some of its citizens in the face.

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