Some black lawmakers ignore boycott over Mississippi flag
Jul. 18, 2017
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Some of Mississippi's black lawmakers will attend a regional meeting in the state, ignoring colleagues' decision to boycott over the Confederate emblem on the state flag.
Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn tells The Clarion-Ledger 13 members of the state's Legislative Black Caucus will attend a meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference. Republican Gunn is chairman of the conference, which meets July 29-Aug. 2 in Biloxi.
Black Caucus Chairwoman Sonya Williams-Barnes, a Democrat from Gulfport, said in May that boycotting the meeting could pressure Mississippi to change the flag.
Gunn says the Confederate emblem is offensive and should be removed, but he says there's no consensus in the House to make the change.
Fifty of Mississippi's 170 current state lawmakers are black, with 49 in the caucus. Four seats are vacant.