New flag design has no meaning for Mississippi

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Buddie Newman

My goodness alive! Some people in our state want to swap our Mississippi flag for a piece of cloth that has no meaning. This is the flag that black and white folks have worked under shoulder to shoulder for more than 100 years, working together to improve our economy and create new jobs for Mississippians.

Yes, they have worked together upgrading education at all levels providing our young people with an opportunity to become a part of the American Dream.

Those saying our Mississippi flag is a symbol of hatred are living in a fantastic dream of childhood adolescence or an iridescent dream of frenzied folly.

Where is that hatred? Some people not familiar with our customs cannot understand the relationship between the races in Mississippi. There exists a bond between the races of genuine affection that will be in existence until time is not more.

Sure, there have been bumps. Most of these obstacles have been smoothed out as we continue working together to help provide a golden dawn and a greater day for all Mississippians.

Don’t talk to me about hard time and images. When I was 15 years old I was the lone white boy working with grown black men seining game fish from Mississippi River Levee borrow pits for $1 per day.

We would pull the seine to the bank loaded with fish and moccasins and lay the seine down so the snakes could crawl back into the water. We would then place the fish in tanks and barrels to be trucked to the hill country for restocking lakes and ponds.

At high noon we ate Moon pies and drank strawberry sodas and were glad to get it. Our Mississippi flag was flying high over our lovely land then as it is today. It is hoped the advocators of changing our flag have not divided the people of our state.

We need builders, not dividers. With blacks and whites working together we have made incredible progress.

Our state flag did not deter the major accomplishments of Mississippi-born Walter Peyton, Jerry Rice, Leontyne Price, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Charlie Pride, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, William Raspberry, Beah Richards, James Earl Jones, Rod Paige, Margaret Walker Alexander and many other African-Americans who made their marks worldwide.

I read an Associated Press article in The Vicksburg Post that Blake Wilson and Don Kilgore are officials in a new fund-raising group that favor replacing our state flag.

They named their new organization The Mississippi Legacy Fund. They should be ashamed for using the word legacy in their title.

How will they spend the funds removed from the pockets of Mississippians and out-of-state contributors?

Will they put some company president on TV screaming we must change our image?

According to the AP release, Wilson and Kilgore are members of the Mississippi Economic Council. Instead of attempting to change our flag these men should enlist the aid of their MEC colleagues and commence efforts to prevent our industry from moving to foreign countries.

Our American and Mississippi flags are not responsible for citizens losing jobs in our nation and state. Listen to the truth!

Go to a hardware store and try to buy a good pipe wrench or a pair of reliable pliers. You will find the tools inferior and you will see &uot;Made in Communist China&uot; on them.

According to newspaper reports, some preachers are meddling by wanting to swap our beautiful state flag for a red rag. They should be preaching the gospel and warning our young people about the dangers of drugs. If they were not called to preach the gospel, they should remove themselves from the pulpit.

Stand fast Mississippians, black and white. Do what is right.

Hoist our state flag to its peak, and let no one haul it down.

C.B. &uot;Buddie&uot; Newman is a former speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives. He is retired and lives north of Vicksburg in Valley Park.