Confederate Flag Opponent Gives Up Beach Sit-In - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/28/02

Confederate Flag Opponent Gives Up Beach Sit-In

Seventy-seven days were enough for Confederate Flag opponent Jason Whitfield. Earlier this week Whitfield and the Confederate Battle flag departed from the beach when Tropical Storm Isidore threatened. Harrison County Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver says crews will put the flags back up next week. Whitfield, on the other hand, says he will not be returning.

When Supervisors put the Confederate Battle flag back up on the Eight Flags Display in July Whitfield showed up just hours later vowing not to leave until the flag came down.

In an interview with WLOX the second day of his protest Whitfield said "I basically was tired of the talking, tired of the speaking, tired of pleading, tired of asking people to respect us. It was time for action."

Whitfield abandoned his camp earlier this week. It was not because the Battle flag came down, but because of the dangers posed by Tropical Storm Isidore. During an interview on Saturday Whitfield said he would not resume his sit in protest and that his days of sleeping on the beach were over.

"I feel like I've done what I'm supposed to do there. The protest is by no means over. I'm looking to attack it from a different front."

He went on to say "I want to get more people to register to vote, and I can't do that effectively from the beach."

Biloxi NAACP president James Crowell doesn't think Whitfield's departure will hurt efforts to get people to vote to get rid of the Confederate flag in a November referendum.

"I think he [Whitfield] has effectively accomplished his objective and sparked people to think about the flag. I think his supporters thought it was time for him to leave because of safety issues."

WLOX was only able to contact one supervisor regarding Whitfield decision. District two's Larry Benefield said "That was a personal decision he made by himself." "I'm glad to see he went on with his life."

What the results of Whitfield's 77 days on the beach will be remains to be seen. Jason Whitfield says he may go back to the eight flags display but the protest will not be a continuous sit-in.

by Danielle Thomas

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