In a column in yesterday’s Clarion Ledger, 35 history professors from many of Mississippi’s major colleges and universities called for a new state flag. The piece was written by Robert Luckett, a history professor at Jackson State, and signed by all 35 “distinguished” scholars. And you can bet most of them are NOT native Mississippians.
As historians in Mississippi, they write, “where massive white resistance to black advancement has been the norm for 200 years” it is “now incumbent upon us to take the strongest of stands against the white supremacist establishment in this nation and in this state and put this recent wave of white nationalism in historical context.”
With that in mind, it is long past time for the emblem identified with the Confederate States of America to be removed from the state flag of Mississippi. This flag does not reflect the entirety of the state’s history and people. It ignores the reality of the African- American experience, and it limits the scope of what Mississippi has been, is, and can be.
Historians have long held that the Civil War was fought for the right of Southern states to maintain and expand the institution of slavery. In declaring their support for the Confederacy, Mississippi’s leaders clearly stated in the secession ordinance of 1860, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. … A blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.”
Throughout the column, Mississippi is denigrated as the leader of the “Jim Crow” system of segregation and the state that led the nation in lynchings per capita, as well as a not-so-subtle suggestion that we are a hotbed of bigotry today and the source of “division and discord.”
The threat of racist mob violence has been present throughout American history, and, as seen by the flag-wielding neo-Nazis and racist sympathizers in Charlottesville, the use of Confederate emblems echoes the racist reasoning of whites in Mississippi at the end of the 19th century, who used terror to impose minority rule.
In light of these facts, we object in the strongest possible terms to perpetuating a symbol of racial terror on a flag that is supposed to represent the people of Mississippi. The current state flag only perpetuates division and discord, rather than unity and understanding. Emblems and flags matter. They signify what is important to a citizenry and cause us to reflect on our history.
The Confederate emblem “does not belong on an official government flag that signifies the values of all the people of the state of Mississippi, nor does the emblem belong in public spaces that officially represent those people. It is time to bring down that flag.”
But these “scholars” of history, most of whom seem oblivious to the real history of the South or of Mississippi, reflected in the cherry-picked “evidence” and lack of any balance in the column, are nothing more than leftwing Democratic ideologues who are teaching the future of Mississippi, our youth, leftist nonsense. Instead of replacing the state flag, I suggest we replace them!