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In part of a sweeping debate about the public display of Confederate symbols across the South, some black legislators in Mississippi say they are boycotting a regional meeting that their own state is hosting this summer, to protest the rebel emblem on the state flag.
The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus is asking the Southern Legislative Conference to push Mississippi to lose its status as the last state with a flag featuring the Confederate battle emblem — a red field topped by a blue tilted cross dotted by 13 white stars.
Mississippi - Universities - Counties - Cities - Biloxi
All eight of Mississippi's public universities and several counties and cities, including Biloxi, have stopped flying the flag because of the Confederate emblem.
Most have done it since the June 2015 slayings of nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The man later convicted in the killings was an avowed white supremacist who had posed for photos holding the Confederate battle flag.
South - Carolina - Confederate - Battle - Flag
South Carolina removed a Confederate battle flag from the statehouse lawn soon after the slayings. New Orleans recently started taking down Confederate statues.
The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus chairwoman, Democratic Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes of Gulfport, said Tuesday that the boycott is designed to put pressure on state House Speaker Philip Gunn. Soon after the Charleston shootings, Republican Gunn, who is white, said his Christian faith led him to see the Confederate symbol as "a point of offense that needs to be removed" from the Mississippi flag. But, he has not rounded up the votes to make a change.
Gunn - Chairman - Southern - Legislative - Conference
Gunn is chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference, with members from 15 states. The group holds its annual meeting July 29-Aug. 2 in Biloxi. Gunn said in a statement Tuesday that SLC "is a well-respected organization" and the meeting will "showcase the positives of Mississippi."
"It brings a...
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