flag lowered

The state of Mississippi flag is lowered at Laurel City Hall. (Photo by Jack Hammett)

During the reignited debate on whether the state of Mississippi flag sends racist messages, Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee signed an executive order on Tuesday to take down flags at its government properties.

A press conference was called for 11 a.m. that day in the City Hall rotunda, where Jimmy Walker, owner of Ford Lincoln Kia in Laurel, stood with an emotional Magee as the latter read and signed the order. At one point, the mayor paused for a full minute as he held back tears. The executive order, effective the day of signing, calls for the flags to be donated to the library or other places that will keep them for posterity.

“Whereas through the ages, these banners have themselves grown to exemplify the traits that define the very fabric of the society they represent and have served as a means to unify, rally the spirit and passion of the citizens to one voice and purpose of the state, all of which demonstrates the significance given to these flag emblems,” Magee read. “And whereas the current flag hovering above the State Capitol of the state of Mississippi was adopted as the state flag by the Mississippi Legislature in 1894, and the upper-left portion of this flag is often referred to as the Confederate battle flag.”

Magee went on to say the battle standard is a symbol of divisiveness and racial transgressions throughout the state’s history, “none of which represents the ideals and principles of our great nation, proud state and 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,” Magee said. “It is the opinion of the mayor of this city that now is such a time.”

Employees of the City of Laurel removed the flag from outside City Hall immediately after Magee’s press conference.

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(9) comments


Jones County was the basis of the movie Free State of Jones. If I lived there I’d congratulate the mayor and invite the rest of the state to ponder the history of these events and the fact that in semiotics (“symbology” as Dan Brown puts it) symbols like flags can carry the open secret, in things like Freemasonry where the colors red white and blue stand for the colors of the Blue Lodge (first degree white, second degree blue, third degree red) — the open secret known to some, not all, but out in the open for all to see. Some of those symbols hurt people and this exercise the mayor went through can hopefully start a healing process.



This is history. That flag and the hatred it represents was a shackle holding us back. It was born of hate and only reminded us of the sins of our past. With it gone, those wounds can finally start to heal. Today is a great one.


Mayor Magee, you absolutely rock! What an awesome legacy you are making for your administration and the City of Laurel. The flags are a part of our history and it's fitting they will take their rightful place in museums. As Nina would say, "It's a new dawn, it's a new day and I'm feelin' good!" Thank you Mayor.


Great job, Mayor Magee. Makes me feel a little bit better about working in Laurel. You are on the right side of history.


I congratulate Mr. Mayor for a step in the right direction. I grew up in Jones County. I saw how black Americans were treated. Black lives do matter. The Confederate flag represents an act of rebellion against the United States. It is part of our history true. My four great grandfathers served in the Confederate Army. Rebellion against the United States is considered an act of treason. That is what the Confederate flag represents. It became a symbol of keeping blacks in slavery. Read the Declaration of Succession from the United States adopted by the Mississippi Convention in 1861. None of you were taught that in school. It is time to realize that slavery is wrong and what we have done to Native Americans and African Americans is sin. Thank you Mr. Mayor.


This is some really messed stuff !!!! When do we vote for another mayor !!! Then we can get our flag back !!! History is just what it is HISTORY now. Might as well not teach it at schools. It’s still gonna be there through whatever is taken away from us. Now more than ever because it has made its comeback through all this BLM joke. All lives matter and no matter what y’all try to take away from our history IT STILL WILL BE A PART OF OUR HISTORY and will always be REMEMBERED now more than ever !!!

Concerned voter

Mr. Mayor those city building belong to the tax payers and most of them are registered voters. If I remember right the majority of those voters decided to keep our state flag .


I simply do not understand how our state flag " hurts " anyone .There have been no slaves for more than 150 years. None of the people that say they are hurt have held a discussion with any slave or even the grandfather of a slave. Blacks represent abut 14 % of the population as a whole. In Mississippi blacks are about 34% of the population . Why are we as a State and a Nation kowtowing before them ?


Well, that does it for me. I’ll do my best not to spend a dime in Laurel now. I can’t believe a city that gets money from the state will not fly the flag of said state that the people has voted to keep. Until the people vote to change it, it should fly.

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