Mississippi, Tennessee debate future of Confederate symbols - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mississippi, Tennessee debate future of Confederate symbols

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi and Tennessee officials are grappling with whether to retain Old South symbols, even as South Carolina leaders are pushing to remove a Confederate battle flag that flies outside the statehouse there.

Mississippi voters decided by a 2-to-1 margin in 2001 to keep the state flag used since 1894. One of its corners has a Confederate battle emblem.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant says Monday he doesn't believe legislators will "supersede the will of the people" and change the flag. Democratic Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, says the emblem is a "symbol of hatred."

Some Tennessee officials want to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state Capitol. Forrest was a Confederate general and an early Ku Klux Klan leader.

A bust sits in an alcove outside the Senate chambers at the Tennessee statehouse.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers called for the bust to be removed Monday, days after nine people were gunned down in a historic black church in South Carolina, prompting a debate over whether the Confederate battle flag should be banned from the statehouse there.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Tennessee, wrote that the government should not promote "symbols of hate" and called for both to be removed.

The bust is inscribed with only "Confederate States Army." It has been at the Capitol for decades.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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