Mississippi, the state whose Declaration of Causes for secession proclaimed clearly, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery,” and the state that was the site of the murder of three civil rights workers by the KKK in the 1960s, is in the confederate heritage news these days. As of now there isn’t going to be any change to Mississippi’s state flag, which incorporates confederate flag imagery. Now we see a civil rights attorney in Mississippi filed a lawsuit “alleging that the Confederate imagery incites racial violence and infringes on the 14th- Amendment protections of black residents.” The attorney, Carlos Moore, says in his lawsuit, “Mississippi’s official state flag with the embedded Confederate battle flag is tantamount to hateful government speech that both has a discriminatory intent and disparate impact. The current official state flag … encourages or incites private citizens to commit acts of racial violence.” This suit appears to have an uphill battle to convince a judge of its merits.
Mississippi’s governor, Phil Bryant, issued a proclamation for confederate heritage month in April. Interestingly, the proclamation seems to have no mention of the reason for forming the confederacy–what the confederacy’s vice president called its “cornerstone:” slavery and white supremacy. There is some pushback in Mississippi for this historical amnesia. High school history teacher Timothy Abram writes, “If we are to learn about Confederate Heritage, it is of paramount importance that we first understand why we (Mississippians) were apart of the Confederacy in the first place. According to A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union, ‘Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world.’ These are not the words of some liberal revisionist trying to make Mississippi and the Confederacy out to be historical villains. These are the words from the state government of Mississippi. The adjective “thoroughly” makes it abundantly clear that the rationale behind Mississippi’s secession was slavery. I wonder why, when we currently ‘reflect on our nation’s past’ many people take an obdurate stance against this notion.” He has a great point.
Kevin Levin has already covered the proclamation.
What do you think?