Carlos Moore, 39, an attorney from Grenada, Mississippi, has employed security protection. Here’s why.
Mississippi is the last state in the nation to wave a rebel symbol over its Statehouse. The controversial state flag is embellished with crossing bars peppered with 13 white stars, known as the Southern Cross, in the upper left corner. A majority of Mississippi voters say it’s a piece of history, and the Confederate battle emblem is worth preserving. The stars represent the 11 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia) that formed the pro-slavery confederacy in the U.S. Civil War plus Kentucky and Missouri, which remained in the Union. The state adopted the flag in 1894 and voters chose to keep it in 2001.
On Feb. 29, 2017, Moore filed a lawsuit to have the flag removed. Following that filing, Moore received a host of death threats that he reported to the FBI and local police.
Moore was inspired by his daughter to forge ahead with the lawsuit saying, “my daughter is 5 years old and I don’t want her growing up in this racist, bigoted environment that is supported by the state. I want her to live in a state that has a unifying flag that does not promote racial violence or subject its African American citizens to second-class status.”
Adding insult to injury, during Black History Month, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant proclaimed April to be Confederate Heritage Month, again. “As I’ve said in the past, I believe Mississippi’s history deserves study and reflection, no matter how unpleasant or complicated the matter may be,” Bryant, a second-term governor said in a press statement on Monday, April 3, 2017. “Like other governors before me who issued similar proclamations for over the last two decades, I also believe gaining insight from our mistakes and successes will help us move forward.”
Moore says the flag is equivalent to “hateful government speech.” The federal lawsuit says the flag incites racial violence on the part of citizens and is a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Attempts to have Confederate flags removed in Alabama and Georgia failed in federal courts because judges didn’t see the correlation between the pro-slavery battle emblem and racial violence. The death threats to Moore via social media counter that claim: “To all the people in Mississippi, Carlos Moore is trying to change your state flag. He is black and think [sic] a lot of other things mixed in too… If any of my bro’s out that way need my help to keep your flag the way it is I’m right here. Where is James Earl Ray when you need him.” James Earl Ray was convicted of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Another user wrote, “He’s black, they hate white folk — storms happen, lightning strikes, buildings burn.”
And a Corinth, Mississippi, resident who displays a handgun as his Facebook profile picture, posted: “OK somebody shot [sic] this P.O.S before he infects us all!”
Mississippi will celebrate it’s 200th anniversary of statehood on December 10, 2017.