Two recent news items.
1. From Huffpost Canada:
JACKSON, Miss. — Things are slow to change in this Old South bastion. The brass bird cage of an elevator in the Mississippi State Capitol that Laurin Stennis used to ride as a 6-year-old coming to see her daddy was still operated by hand when she stepped into it one day in early January, a 46-year-old coming to shake things up. Or at least nudge things along.
“Ground floor, please, sir,” she said to the operator.
But some things have changed. The lawmaker who greeted Stennis in the grand marbled lobby below was an African American woman, something unheard of when Stennis’s father, John H. Stennis, was a member of the nearly all-white, all-male state legislature and her grandfather, John C. Stennis, was a legendary champion of segregation in the U.S. Senate.
“I’ve already filed your bill,” state Rep. Kathy Sykes said after hugs. “I’m just waiting on the number.”
It was the start of a new legislative session, and Sykes, a Democrat from Jackson, had once again introduced legislation to replace the Mississippi state flag — the last in the country that still incorporates the Confederate battle flag — with a design widely known as the “Stennis Flag.” It features a big blue star on a white field, encircled by 19 smaller stars and flanked by red bands.
It’s graphically pleasing and increasingly popular. If the Stennis Flag eventually replaces the old banner — its supporters aren’t expecting much to happen this year, with state elections looming — the banner might help alter the view the world has of Mississippi, a state with a brutal history of Klan murders and racial oppression. It could alter the reputation of one of the state’s most famous political names, as well.
A great design, both aesthetically and symbolically (the big star represents Mississippi, the nineteen smaller ones represent previously admitted states to the Union). I confess that I still prefer the Magnolia flag, though.
UPDATE: I am in favor of getting rid of the current Mississippi flag, but I feel compelled to state that I object to such sentences as this, which come so easily to journalists at the Washington Post:
the banner might help alter the view the world has of Mississippi, a state with a brutal history of Klan murders and racial oppression.
I can think of a few “views” that Group A might have of Group B, which to the mainstream media cannot possibly be the fault of Group B, but can only be the result of stereotypes held by Group A and are thus streng verboten. I’d also like to point out that, for example, Illinois, the Land of Lincoln himself, also has a brutal history of Klan murders and racial oppression.