Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is under fire for refusing to remove the Confederate emblem from Mississippi’s state flag.
Instead, he declared October “Racial Reconciliation Month” as a way to help break down barriers between blacks and whites.
Thursday, critics will hold a news conference on the steps of the State Capitol in Jackson demanding an apology.
Community activist Duvalier Malone says he doesn’t think he’s going to get an apology from Governor Bryant but he’s asking for one anyway.
Malone says Mississippi has lost business and tourism all because of the Confederate emblem on the flag.
“Growing up as a poor boy in Mississippi, my grandmother used to tremble at the thought of the Confederate flag being raised,” says Malone.
He doesn’t think he’ll get an apology from Governor Bryant, but they’ll be at the Capitol anyway, sharing stories and experiences about the flag and praying for unity.
Malone hopes the cause gains national attention, especially by the presidential candidates. The Confederate flag is an issue Hillary Clinton’s campaign has already taken an interest in. This week, WikiLeaks released e-mails from her campaign dating back to last summer where campaign members discussed the Confederate emblem and whether it is strictly a flag issue or one that should include other Confederate symbols as well.
“Being that it is on Hillary Clinton’s agenda, on her radar, I am so excited because we need help in the state of Mississippi,” says Malone.
Malone says when the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina State Capitol more than a year ago, tourism increased in the state. He’s optimistic it could have the same effect in Mississippi.
“That Confederate flag represents hate, it represents so much darkness of our past and it’s time for us to retire it and put it in a museum where it belongs,” says Malone.
Local 24 News reached out to Governor Bryant’s office about whether or not he plans to issue an apology. We haven’t heard back yet.