Advocate for change reflects on retiring of the state flag

Advocate for change reflects on retiring of the state flag

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - History was made Wednesday as the embattled state flags that flew over the State Capitol were lowered for the last time.

One longtime advocate for the a new flag reflects on this monumental change for the state and her hope for the future.

"Hatred is killing our children. It's killing our leaders," said Ethel Mangum in 2000.

She was speaking at a commission hearing on changing the state flag.

A vote on a design without the Confederate battle emblem later failed.

Nearly 20 years later the outspoken advocate did not think the change would come.

“I did not expect to live to see the day that the flag came down,” said the retired administrative assistant. “Just like I didn’t think I would live to see a black president.”

Born in Edwards and raised as a child in Madison county, Mangum said to her the flag represented division and fear.

It was especially so when her father, a driver for the Payne Bus Company, was forced to move the family to Jackson for carrying NAACP members to Jackson.

"The young man who the officer had his foot on the young man's neck woke up a whole nation, and God has not done that in that fashion since I've been in this world," said the passionate advocate.

Mangum credits her generation with paving the way and younger generations for following through on supporting a new symbol.

Her concern now is whether a diverse committee will be selected to choose a unifying flag for the state.

"Our future has a chance to look very bright," she added.

Public input will be included in the new flag selection.

A vote will take place November 3.

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