Sitting on the Gulf Coast, Biloxi, Miss., is about as deep south as one can get, but the city’s mayor says the Confederate battle emblem has no place there and he has ordered all Mississippi state flags, which bear the emblem, removed from municipal buildings.
The city is following other nearby cities and universities in removing the emblem. Its mayor, Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, had ordered the flags removed upon taking office after winning a special election in 2015, specifying that only American flags should be flown. He learned only last weekend that the order had not been fully carried out.
“The mayor made it crystal clear today that he wants consistency,” city spokesman Vincent Creel told the Biloxi Sun-Herald, remarking that 5.7 million tourists come to Biloxi every year. “We don’t think we should give them any reason to reconsider their decision to visit our community. We want to avoid any controversy with this state flag. It’s the right thing to do — period.”
The changes were being made on Monday, which coincided with Confederate Memorial Day. Mississippi is the only state in the U.S. to continue to use the Confederate battle emblem on its state flag.
Demonstrators were expected in front of Biloxi City Hall on Tuesday afternoon to protest the decision, bringing the flag to the site.
Two new state flag initiatives have been attempted, but failed to get enough votes last year and it probably won’t come up again until 2018, the Sun-Herald said. On Monday, New Orleans began the process of removing four controversial confederate statues. The Battle of Liberty Place monument, erected in 1891 was removed by workers who worked on taking it down under cover of night.