With a bill to remove the Mississippi state flag signed Tuesday by Gov. Tate Reeves, government buildings in the state have just 15 days to take them down.
However, while Columbia’s City Hall removed its flag Monday afternoon, some of the Marion County Courthouse leadership is resisting the change.
Board of Supervisors President Tony Morgan said Wednesday he’s talked to several elected officials and told them when they want to take it down they can do so. However, Morgan has no desire to be a part of taking it down himself, and he said many elected officials in the courthouse don’t want that either.
“I don’t like what Tate Reeves done. He lied to the people and the state of Mississippi. I don’t think it was right what he done taking that vote up on himself,” he said. “I’m not taking the flag down. If he wants it took down, he can come down here himself. But he probably doesn’t know where Marion County is because back when we had the floods, he said the Pearl River didn’t even flow through Marion County.”
The governor had long held the stance that the flag would not change under his leadership unless there was a referendum vote by the people that constituted the change. However, he changed his position last week and offered his support to sign the bill if and when it passed the House and Senate, which happened Sunday.
As of press deadline Thursday, Morgan said there are no plans to remove the flag from the courthouse.
Beat 5 Supervisor Calvin Newsom added the board hasn’t met yet to discuss removing the flag from the courthouse but that the supervisors will eventually follow suit with the rest of the state and other counties.
“Once Mississippi has a new flag that will reflect all citizens of Marion County, that will definitely be a day that all Marion County people will be thankful for,” he said.
Newsom, the lone black supervisor, added seeing the Confederate battle emblem flying in the wind has always been a reminder to what it was like growing up in Marion County in the early 1970s.
“When people did things, they would always have that flag to point out ‘We’re in control, and we can do everything we want to do and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.’ When I was in the third grade, which was not long after integration, there was twice that people waving and flying the flag sent dogs after me and my sister when we were walking home from the Columbia public schools,” he said.
However, Newsom said a flag can’t change a person’s heart, but retiring the flag is one step forward for change.
“Change is forever hard. Integration was the same way. It was fought tooth and nail,” he said.
Columbia Mayor Justin McKenzie said once the vote passed and Reeves said he was going to sign it, city officials went ahead and removed the flag from City Hall.
“We’re a peaceful community and not one that’s looking for controversy,” he said.
McKenzie said there haven’t been any complaints about the flag being removed from city hall and that when a new state flag is approved it will be put up.