Calls for flag change: Mississippi Flag Change

Published: August 17, 2015

Calls for flag change: Mississippi Flag Change, The author tells TIME his home state will ditch Confederate flag “sooner rather than later”
Top-selling author John Grisham, a native of Mississippi, has advocated removing the Confederate battle flag from his home state flag for more than a decade. Now, Grisham, one of more than 60 prominent signatories calling for its removal in a full-page ad in the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, says change is on its way after years of the issue being stuck on the sidelines.

“It’s Mississippi and change is painfully slow,” he said in an email to TIME. “However, I believe it will happen sooner rather than later.”

Grisham and fellow Mississippi author Greg Iles took turns drafting the letter and eventually solicited the signatures of their fellow prominent state residents. Morgan Freeman, The Help author Kathryn Stockett, former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, and University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze were among the signatories.

The athletes, celebrities and other leading figures who lent their names to the letter, along with the support of the state’s Federal senators, have given the effort to remove the flag momentum, said Grisham. The threat of sanctions from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) could also force the issue more quickly, he said. In the past, the NCAA has expressed disapproval of the confederate battle flag, imposing a 15-year ban on post-season sporting events in South Carolina because a confederate battle flag flew over the state capitol.

“College athletics are a huge part of our lives,” said Grisham. “And if the NCAA adopts rules that penalize our teams in post-season play, then we might forget about the Civil War.”

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