On Monday afternoon, Philadelphia’s police department removed the Mississippi state flag from the Avenue of the States display on Broad Street created for the Democratic National Convention.
According to the Associated Press, around 50 protesters had camped on the road to shout that the flag should be removed from the lamp post, as it features the Confederate flag on it. Brian Abernathy with the Philadelphia mayor’s office told AP that there had been complaints from residents prior to the Monday protest. Most of the protesters were Bernie Sanders supporters; Philly Mag reporter Dan McQuade said one tried to yank the flag down using a rope.
Another Mississippi flag nearby will also be removed, according to Abernathy. The Avenue of the States display had been comprised of flags from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.
Some Mississippi Democratic representatives to the DNC were delighted that the flag had been removed; Ouida Meruvia, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Democratic Party, said the state’s delegation was in concert with the decision, opining, “The Democratic Party in Mississippi does not advocate the Mississippi flag. A lot of delegates have come out against it.” Curley Clark, a Hillary Clinton delegate and president of the Jackson County, Miss., NAACP, called the flag “an affront to the descendants of slaves” and said it “should be changed.” Meruvia added that the flag’s removal “speaks to the national reaction about our flag and what we’ve been talking about.”
In the spring of 2016, Carlos Moore of Grenada, Mississippi filed suit against Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who preferred to let Mississippi residents decide whether to jettison the flag or keep it. Moore argued that the Confederate flag violated the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery. He also argued that the flag violated the 14th Amendment’s equal protection rights of blacks in Mississippi. He wrote, “Mississippi is the only state that includes a symbol of a treacherous and insurrectionist Confederate army in its official state flag, restricting the liberty to be free from such tyranny said non-residents enjoy in all other states.”
“The Democratic Party in Mississippi does not advocate the Mississippi flag. A lot of delegates have come out against it.”
Ouida Meruvia, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Democratic Party
Bryant spokesman Clay Chandler said Moore’s lawsuit was “frivolous.” Bryant honored a request from the Sons of Confederate Veterans to proclaim April as Confederate Heritage Month.
The impetus for removing the Mississippi flag seemed to derive from the massacre of nine black worshippers at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in June, as the murderer, Dylan Roof, had posed for online photos with the rebel flag. Some Mississippi cities and counties and some universities terminated the use of the state flag after the massacre.
By the end of February, efforts in the Mississippi legislature to remove the flag had died in committee.