Ole Miss takes down its state flag with Confederate emblem

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ole Miss Removes State Flag From Campus After Backlash.

The Mississippi flag was taken down from the state’s public university Monday morning, after student leaders, faculty and staff called for its removal because of its prominent Confederate emblem. “As Mississippi’s flagship university, we have a deep love and respect for our state,” University of Mississippi’s interim chancellor Morris Stocks said in a statement. “Because the flag remains Mississippi’s official banner, this was a hard decision. “I understand the flag represents tradition and honor to some.The University of Mississippi removed the state flag on its Oxford campus Monday, heeding calls from students and administrators who said the inclusion of the banner’s Confederate battle emblem made it unfit to fly.

That is why the university faculty, staff and leadership have united behind this student-led initiative.” Ole Miss police officers lowered it as the campus opened, and folded it for storage in the archives along with the written resolutions from campus groups. The action came days after the student senate and other groups adopted a student-led resolution calling for removal of the banner from campus. “This was extremely unexpected but I’m very excited,” Buka Okoye, president of the University’s chapter of the NAACP, told the Daily Mississippian, the campus newspaper. “Thanks be to God for the University acting and for acting quickly on the side of the students and faculty. But to others, the flag means that some members of the Ole Miss family are not welcomed or valued.” Since 1894, the Mississippi state flag has displayed the Confederate symbol in the upper left corner — a blue X with 13 white stars, over a field of red. The alleged killer had published photos of himself online with the Confederate battle flag — a revelation that led to retailers, manufacturers and local governments to curtail its use.

In recent years, the university has been distancing itself from the Confederate symbols that for some represent Southern heritage but for others evoke slave ownership and racism. Ole Miss renamed its “Confederate Drive” and changed its mascot from “Old Reb,” who seemed like a plantation owner or Confederate soldier, into a flag-waving animal named “Rebel Black Bear.” This year, the debate over the flag and its message intensified across the south after a shooting at a Charleston church killed nine people in an apparent racist hate crime; the suspect had filmed himself with a Confederate flag. The public display of Confederate symbols has been subject to heated debates, however, since the June massacre of nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. At a rally in support of the flag’s removal earlier this month, Ole Miss students were confronted by people angry that the state’s history might be whitewashed, and by KKK members. “Mississippi and its people are known far and wide for hospitality and a warm and welcoming culture. Stocks said the decision to take down the flag was difficult, since to some the meaning of the symbol is their heritage, with many supporters of the flag saying it honors their Confederate veteran ancestors.

Yet the fight over the fight has intensified since the shooting deaths last he black church in South Carolina after it emerged that the suspect, Dylan Roof, who has been charge with nine counts of murder, had posted images of himself with the banner on the internet. After almost a hundred years of disuse, the battle flag became popular in the southern states during the 1960s as a sign of defiance against federal civil rights reform and desegregation.

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