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Black Mayor Breaks Down In Tears While Signing Executive Order To Remove Controversial Mississippi Flag From City Buildings

Quentis Jones Jr./Facebook

The anti-racism protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd have pushed several communities in the U.S. to remove longstanding Confederate symbols that have held a central – and triggering – place in public life for years.

Several statues of Confederate leaders have already been torn down. The Senate has debated renaming military bases which currently commemorate Confederate generals.

And now, the Mississippi State Legislature has decided to removed the Confederate symbol from its state flag.

The flag, seen below, has been the only state flag in the U.S. to continue to carry the symbol. 

Photo By Encyclopaedia Britannica/UIG Via Getty Images

For many, the now successful road to removal was an emotional one.

Last Tuesday, while the move to amend the flag remained an unresolved issue, one Mississippi city’s mayor took matters into his own hands.

Mayor Johnny Magee of Laurel, Mississippi, was moved to tears as he signed an executive order to lower all state flags flown on Laurel lands and donate them to local libraries.

Posted by Quentis Jones Jr. on Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Laurel Mayor—Johnny Magee brought to tears as he issues executive order to remove confederate flags from City of Laurel. The mayor says growing up in the city of Laurel, the flag is a symbol of division.

Posted by Quentis Jones Jr. on Tuesday, June 23, 2020

According to the Laurel Leader-Call, Magee stopped for a full minute to hold back the tears during a press conference about the order.

In that speech, Magee felt no shame for the emotion he felt. 

“I don’t apologize for being emotional. I have lived through some things with this flag and as they told Dr. King to wait. Time for waiting is over.”

He went on to address the urgency of his order. 

“It’s also been used by some as an image of hatred, divisiveness and violence, none of which in any way represents the ideals and principles of our great nation, our proud state, or our vibrant city.”

“There comes a point in time in the annals of history when it becomes necessary to redefine who a people are, and what a collection of these people represent.” 

“It is the opinion of the mayor of this city that now is such a time.”

At the event, the mayor also called on the Mississippi State Legislature to retire the state flag as well. As mentioned, Magee’s call was answered less than a week later in a 91-23 vote.

Facebook comments were utterly touched by the images of Mayor Agee’s tearful announcement. 

Leslie Lombard/Facebook
Benjamin Prince/Facebook
Kayla Vance/Facebook
Everett E. Robbie Robinson

Mississippi now begins the process of re-imagining its flag, so one that Magee can feel good about flies on public lands in both Laurel and the rest of Mississippi.

Eric Spring

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.