State flag flies once more over city halls in Pascagoula, Ocean Springs

Published: Jul. 8, 2017 at 2:02 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2017 at 10:55 AM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi's state flag is back flying over the top of city buildings in two cities on the Gulf Coast. New leaders in Pascagoula and Ocean Springs both decided to put it back up at the city hall buildings in each city.

Pascagoula City Manager, Mike Mangum says the new administration -- led by newly-elected Mayor Dane Maxwell -- directed him to ensure the state flag was raised and flown after noticing it wasn't flying in the front of their building.

Meanwhile, a Facebook post by Ocean Springs' new mayor Shea Dobson defended his choice to fly the controversial flag, saying in part, "If I was a Mayor in California, I would fly the flag of California. If I was a Mayor in New York, I would fly the flag of New York. If I was a Mayor in Alabama, I would fly the flag of Alabama. That position does not change because I am Mayor of a city in Mississippi."

He went on to ask his constituents for their opinions on the flag, ending the post by stating his support for putting the issue up to another statewide vote.

Mayor Dobson's post struck a nerve with many, garnering hundreds of comments and reactions both for and against flying Mississippi's flag.

The state flag has been a source of controversy for years, with critics saying the Confederate battle emblem in the corner of the flag promotes hate. Supporters, however, say the flag is a part of Mississippi's history and should be left alone.

Kade Jenkins, a visitor to Pascagoula, say he supports the city's decision to raise the state flag again over City Hall.

"It's their right, they can fly it if they want to," said Jenkins. "I have more respect for them now for standing up for something and flying a flag I agree with."

However, not everyone in the area thinks it's a good idea.

Pascagoula resident India Smallman says many people she knows feel offended by the state flag, believing it represents a society who, at one time, valued slavery.

"As an African-American, it could demean me," said Smallman. "Since in today's society, blacks and other races are prospering and paying taxes, we feel we should switch it to something more positive."

Meanwhile, Jenkins says he feels the flag is a part of history that he doesn't want to see change.

"There's going to be critics no matter what you do," said Jenkins. "Some people are burning down the American flag, so there's critics no matter what you're flying. So if you want to fly the flag, and it's our state flag, I agree."

Smallman says she hopes the debate over our state flag will continue.

"It has a very slave-oriented type of thing to it," Smallman noted.

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