Local critics of Mississippi’s flag heard the refrain repeatedly from Tupelo’s City Council last year: “Go talk to your legislators.” Turns out, those flag critics aren’t likely to receive the reception they might like from most state senators and representatives of Northeast Mississippi.
Daily Journal local government reporter Caleb Bedillion recently spoke with 12 area lawmakers regarding the controversial Mississippi flag. Almost all said they would oppose any effort to change the flag through legislative action.
On today’s episode, Caleb (5:25) joins Derek and Brad to discuss the Mississippi flag and the stances of Northeast Mississippi legislators. We discuss the momentum that appeared to be moving toward a flag change in 2015 and how it never materialized and has instead begun to subside. We also look back at the 2001 referendum, in which a large majority of voters chose to keep the current state flag.
Supporters of the flag often cite tradition and heritage, while those opposed to it say that its Confederate symbolism has been associated with efforts to denny civil rights for black citizens. Caleb talks about the two sides of the debate.
We also talk about the politics of the flag in the state legislature, which crosses party lines.
The debate has been heated in Tupelo recently, with some calling for the city to stop flying the flag on municipal property. Those calls were even louder for it to not fly the state flag in front of its new police headquarters, which is located in a historically black neighborhood. In a compromise, city council members voted to fly the bicentennial banner instead for this year. But with lawmakers unlikely to change the flag, it means the council will face the issue again when the bicentennial year ends in December.
Also on today’s episode, Michaela Morris (36:06) talks about the 30th anniversary of North Mississippi Medical Center’s Careflight, a medical helicopter service that has been ferrying the critically ill and injured across the region since December 1986. Before that, hospitals relied on the National Guard to help move critical patients. Typically, the flights involved moving burn patients to the center that was located in Greenville at the time.
Chief photographer Thomas Wells (42:46) discusses his recent photo essay that goes behind the scenes at Tupelo Trophy.