Maisie Brown has heard people argue that removing an emblem of the Confederacy from Mississippi’s state flag meant little—that, in a state still rife with systemic racism, it was nothing more than a symbolic change with no substance. She disagrees.
“I think the flag change matters, and if the flag change really didn’t matter, I don’t think they would have taken so long to change it,” the 19-year-old Black activist who, in June 2020, was one of the BLM Sip organizers who led a massive march on the governor’s mansion in Jackson. “This argument is kind of like when people say, ‘Oh, voting doesn’t matter.’ Then why do they make it so hard?”
The Confederate-themed banner that flew atop flagpoles and government buildings for 126 years had power, Brown said, and it communicated, “I’m a nobody.”
“The flag wasn’t changed because we thought it was ugly. The flag wasn’t changed because it got old. The flag was changed because it was racist. I don’t understand how much simpler we can make it,” she continued.