Fight not fading over Confederate emblem on flag

After several unsuccessful efforts, Shirley stood at the front of the House chamber last Wednesday and silently waved two tiny flags — one, the state banner; the other, a plain white flag. He would not explain that action, but many interpreted it as a sign of at least temporary surrender.

The next day, the chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus, Democratic Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes of Gulfport, stood in the same spot and said Shirley should have apologized for disrupting the work of the House over a divisive symbol. Instead, she said he had “laughed and cooed” with other representatives.

“This flag remains a constant reminder of not just the past hate, but the current hate that continues to fester in this state amongst our residents and throughout this chamber,” Williams-Barnes said.

Mississippi is the last state with a flag that prominently features the Confederate battle emblem, years after Georgia redesigned its banner.

Clarion Ledger