Amid widespread national reaction advocating banning the Confederate flag after images of Charleston, South Carolina shooter Dylan Roof posing with it created a backlash against the southern symbol, one state has placed the future of the flag squarely in the hands of the voters.

Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi, a Republican, has stated he will not be calling the state legislature into special session to consider removing the Confederate symbol from the state flag. Instead, any change will have to be made following a popular referendum no sooner than 2018.

Following Speaker of the House Philip Gunn’s call to remove the symbol, The Sons of the Confederacy mounted a bumper sticker and yard sign campaign with the slogan: “Keep the Flag. Change the Speaker.”

Revulsion and disgust aimed at the perpetrator of the mass shootings during a Bible study class at the Emmanuel African American Episcopal Church in Charleston became focused on the flag after his Facebook page revealed photographs of him waving the Confederate flag among other photos of him wearing a Gold’s Gym T-shirt and holding a burning American flag.

Seven states of the Confederacy – Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, in addition to California and Texas have taken steps to eradicate the emblem and other symbols of the south, including monuments, statues, as well as schools and buildings named after Southern heroes and statesmen.

The “Stars and Bars” has been on the Mississippi state flag for over 100 years, occupying the upper right corner of the standard, and was retained by popular referendum in 2001.

The outcry to ban the Confederate battle flag, long known as “The Stars and Bars” did not extend to demands to enact tougher legislation to prohibit the burning of the Stars and Stripes, nor boycotts against the co-ed fitness centers.



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