Mississippi’s Black Congressman Hopes Confederate Flags Become ‘Artifact of History’

Mississippi’s Black Congressman Hopes Confederate Flags Become ‘Artifact of History’

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

 

 (McClatchy) — Rep. Bennie Thompson, the only Democrat and African-American in Mississippi’s six-member congressional delegation, has waited decades for a groundswell of opposition to the Confederate flag.

He just wishes it wasn’t spawned by the killings of nine black members of a Charleston, S.C., church, allegedly by a young white supremacists who posted an internet photos of himself holding the battle flag of the Confederacy.

Through more than 22 years in Congress, Thompson has never displayed the Mississippi state flag with its Confederate markings outside his office in the Rayburn House Office Building. To do so, he says, he’d have to pretend that it was something other than a symbol of slavery and “second-class citizenship for my ancestors.”

An aide said he may be the only member of Congress who refuses to fly his state flag. Even before Thompson came to Congress in the early 1990s, he attempted unsuccessfully win a state court lawsuit seeking to ban the state’s flag.