Some Southern Cities Are Taking Down Confederate Flags to Make Tourists More Comfortable
Mississippi has the only state flag in the U.S. that still features the Confederate emblem.
Officials across Mississippi are taking state flags down from all municipal buildings in an effort to make visitors feel more welcome.
On Monday, Biloxi became the latest city in Mississippi to pull the state flag — which contains the Confederate battle emblem — from all city properties.
"We don't think we should give them any reason to reconsider their decision to visit our community," Biloxi city spokesman Vincent Creel said. "We don't think we should have anything that's controversial."
The city — which has a 38 percent black population — receives roughly 5.7 million visitors every year. According to the Biloxi Area Tourism Industry report, tourism to the gulf coast of Mississippi makes up one-third of the state’s total tourism revenue. Many tourists go to visit the city’s 24-hour casinos or coastal beaches.
All eight public universities in the state have stopped flying the flag, alongside several counties and cities, including the capital of Jackson.
The Mississippi state flag is the only state flag in the United States that still features the Confederate emblem. In 2001, the state voted and decided to keep the flag which they have used since 1894, however it remains a controversial topic.
A law that would have required all public universities to fly the state flag was barely overturned in the state house last month. And one lawyer is even trying to prove in a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the flag is unconstitutional for its correlation with “hate speech.”