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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Confederate battle emblem still waves on the Mississippi flag and appears in little danger of being erased anytime soon.
Legislators have filed bills that propose to either change the flag that has been used since 1894 or punish schools, universities, local governments or state agencies that refuse to fly it. Leaders say there's little chance any bill will survive because there's no consensus on the issue that generates strong emotions.
Mississippi - State - Flag - Battle - Emblem
Mississippi is the last state with a flag that still includes the battle emblem — a red field topped by a blue tilted cross dotted with 13 white stars.
Critics say the flag symbolizes slavery and segregation and tarnishes a state with a 38 percent black population.
Time - Mississippi - Direction - Rep - John
"It's time for Mississippi to move in a new direction," said Democratic Rep. John Hines of Greenville, a member of the Legislative Black Caucus. "The state that I believe Mississippi can be — that flag is not a representative symbol of it."
Supporters say the flag represents history and heritage — and many say they're tired of attempts to downplay references to the Confederacy.
Rep - Dan - Eubanks - Walls - Campaigning
Republican Rep. Dan Eubanks of Walls, who is white, said that when he went door-to-door campaigning in 2015 in northern Mississippi: "People didn't care about anything except, 'Where do you stand on the flag?' Only one person said, 'Change it.'"
The day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated, several people stood on an Interstate 55 bridge in Mississippi holding Trump banners, Mississippi flags and American flags, according to photos on the Facebook page of Delta Flaggers, a group that supports the state banner.
Display - Confederate - Symbols - Debate - June
The public display of Confederate symbols has come under widespread debate since the June 2015 slaying of nine black worshippers in a church in a Charleston, South Carolina, by an avowed white supremacist who had posed for photos with...
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