Southern Legislative Conference

Mississippi is the only state left in the nation that bears the Confederate battle emblem, a symbol of tradition for some, a sign of hate for others.
While the controversy of the state flag has made national headlines throughout the years, the issue topped the agenda at one session of lawmakers throughout the region at today’s 71st annual Southern Legislative Conference.
When it comes to Mississippi’s state flag, one thing’s for sure: there is a great wave of emotion no matter which stance you take. Opinions on whether to keep the state flag are divided, but it’s not necessarily along racial lines as evidenced at some pro flag rallies.
The issue topped the agenda at the work session today at this year’s Southern Legislative Conference in Biloxi. Representative Charles Busby said, “We all represent constituents who feel both ways and it’s not just black or white.”
When it comes to changing or keeping the flag in Mississippi, it means a lot more than just tradition. “We can change not only the flag, but the quality of life for people in this state that resent the flag or support the flag.”
The flag is more than a piece of cloth and offensive for some state leaders, like Curley Clark, who heads up local chapters of the NAACP in Mississippi. They and others outside the region asked that a regional softball tournament back in May be moved from the grounds of Ole Miss until the state flag is replaced. At least one state law maker has offered a material alternative.
Whether the current flag stays hoisted at public buildings or is taken down to be replaced by another, some state leaders say what really matters is what lies within the souls of all the residents who work, live, and raise their families in Mississippi. “Changing the state flag is not gonna change people’s hearts and their attitudes. We gotta change hearts and attitudes,” said Busby.

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