Tourists say Mississippi's flag not a factor in visiting the sta - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Tourists say Mississippi's flag not a factor in visiting the state

The Confederate battle emblem in the corner of the Mississippi state flag continues to fan the flames of debate over whether or not it should be taken down or changed. (Photo source: WLOX) The Confederate battle emblem in the corner of the Mississippi state flag continues to fan the flames of debate over whether or not it should be taken down or changed. (Photo source: WLOX)
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The NAACP has passed a resolution Tuesday demanding Mississippi make a change in its state flag. The proposal cites the Confederate emblem on the banner as a symbol of hate. 

A sign near the Mississippi-Louisiana state line says 'Welcome to Mississippi.' But the President of the Hancock County NAACP says as long as the confederate battle emblem is part of the fabric of the state flag, some people will never feel welcome.

"From the outside looking in, people thinking about whether to come to the Gulf Coast or other parts of the state, that symbol right there says some of us are not welcome," said Gregory Barabino, President of the Hancock County NAACP.

Barabino said right now Mississippi is the only remaining state in the Union with a Confederate battle flag emblem in its flag. He believes it will cost the Magnolia State millions of dollars in tourism and economic development. 

"If I was a business or company, I would have to take in consideration what does that state exemplify? And we have a flag that's waving symbolic of hatred," explained Barabino. 

But the tourists WLOX News spoke with said Mississippi's flag flap had no influence on their decision to visit the state.

"The Confederate flag is a symbol that you do associate with the South of America. But it being on the flag of Mississippi, you come for the state not the flag," said Lorna Sinnamon a tourist from London, England. 

Louisiana Tourist David Colliver said, "You're going to go where you want to go no matter what's flying."

The National NAACP organization did not call for a boycott of businesses in the state, but its resolution did say the organization plans to bring national attention supporting the end of the flag. 

Melanie Maxham, a Texas resident who stopped in at the Hancock County Welcome Center said, "People have a right to express themselves and I have a right to disagree with that, and I also have the right not to support those businesses that would choose to display an emblem like that. I think the Confederate flag is a reprehensible emblem of a time in our nation's history, that is devisive and it should absolutely come down." 

Texas Resident Joe Rubin said, "With a lot of people, it leaves a bad taste in their mouth. Why won't Mississippi get in line with the 21st century? Why are they refusing to change? After years and years of Jim Crow, it's like you're in a time warp here."

In Jackson Tuesday, city leaders approved a resolution supporting a new Mississippi state flag saying the flag is not representative of the state and its people.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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