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April 8, 2001

By Staff
April 8, 2001
Flag: Where is all this conflict headed?
To the Editor:
I want to thank Steve Swogetinsky for a fine article about my talk to the Lion's Club in support of the old flag ("Historian says state flag issue misunderstood," March 9). Some think the flag is a symbol of slavery, even though slavery had been in America for over 200 years before the Confederacy came along. Then is the Ole Miss Rebel football team also a symbol of slavery?
One letter to the editor disagreed with my remarks about slavery and secession but missed the point, that most large slave owners and counties with a high percentage of slaves voted against secession. Lauderdale voted to secede, and years ago while researching the county not about secession I made a list of all slave owners in the 1850 census 369 in a white population of 6,052.
A bill is now in the Texas Legislature to remove four Confederate statues at the University of Texas, and George Washington is under attack. A woman recently went into a Meridian book store and ripped off all the stickers from the covers of my Civil War books, He Saw the Elephant. The stickers read, "Why the South Seceded Discriminatory Tariffs, Northern Political and Economic Oppression." She said it was discrimination.
So where is all this divisive conflict leading? Follow the money. The Jackson City Council has voted to pursue reparations for descendants of African slaves, and citizens have been pouring into the courthouse and library in Macon and other towns for IRS form 1040X to apply for their 40 acres and a mule or $30,000. One trillion dollars has been mentioned. Now let's see: $30,000 times 35,000,000 applicants equals one trillion dollars and a few billion in change. Pretty close.
Hewitt Clarke
Houston, Texas
Heritage an unchanging fabric'
To the Editor:
On April 17 I will vote for a new Mississippi flag. The proponents of the old flag say changing the state banner will deny them of their heritage.
How can changing a flag deny anyone of their heritage? Heritage is more complex, more substantial, than a flag on a pole. Heritage is the unchanging fabric of one's personal history, family and culture. It is a gift passed from one generation to the next. No act by man nor government can deny anyone of their heritage.
Like those who favor the old flag, I too have Confederate ancestors from the 13th Mississippi Regiment formed in Carroll county. I'm proud of my ancestry, but I'm just as proud of all the Mississippians who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf.
My eyes are on the future. My heart is for a unified state.
Richard McNeer
Oxford
People to blame for slavery, not flag
To the Editor:
I just watched the local news, and listened intently
to the segment concerning the controversy on the state flag.
I watched as Mr. Obie Clark made his apparently from the hip statement concerning the flag and heritage. If I listened correctly and I think I did, I heard Clark say the flag doesn't stand for heritage because we the supporters of the current flag haven't stood up and stopped certain hate groups like the KKK from using the flag in their rallies and demonstrations.
Well, I just wanted to remind Obie Clark because I believe he has forgotten, that this is the United States of America, and since our beginning, we have had this very important document called the Constitution that gives these groups the freedom to do this, just as it does for the Black Panthers Militia and the NAACP to use what flags and objects they choose to use in their demonstrations and rallies.
But what can we do to stop this practice? Nothing That's what! But what we need to do is grow up and get a life, and quit this silliness of blaming flags and
other objects for slavery and claiming that it offends us. People are to blame for slavery, Mr. Clark, not the flag, and those people are long gone, as are the slaves.
It's time to grow up, people. If we have had shortcomings in our lives we have only ourselves to blame for it, not because 130 plus years ago someone we never knew or loved was a slave or a slave owner
Leave our flag honorable, the way it is now.
Jeff Dean
Little Rock, Miss.
WWJD?'
To the editor:
I am white, aged 69, a retired school teacher.
I am not a native Mississippian.
I have lived her for 40 years; this is home.
I am a Christian.
I am a Baptist.
I am going to vote for a new state flag.
Why? Because I have asked myself, "What would Jesus do?"
We have displayed this question on jewelry, T-shirts and bumper stickers.
We have asked it of our children and grandchildren.
Now we need to ask it of ourselves.
Deep in our hearts, I think we know the answer.
Pat McCubbin
Meridian
Look away, Dixie land'
To the Editor
This is to all the winners out there. I think they need to go back to school and get in to Mississippi history classes. It wasn't the Mississippi State Flag that brought the blacks over here for slavery. It was the national flag that is flying now. And look what shape the USA is in now.
The state flag stands for our heritage and that's what we fought and died for. The majority of the Southerners did not own slaves but were fighting for their land and the right to govern their way of life. We lost the war between the states, but we held our heads and flag high and still do to this day.
Look away, Dixie land.
Jack Boren
Porterville

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