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Miss. actress says retired flag means “it’s a better day” for state

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 6:30 PM CDT
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MOSELLE, Miss. (WDAM) - The years-long debate to change Mississippi’s 1894 state flag concluded this week with Gov. Tate Reeves’s signature and the flag’s retirement ceremony.

The Confederate emblem on the flag led to the outcry of many voices calling for the flag’s removal. One of those voices is Mississippi actress Aunjanue Ellis, who is now saying it’s a better day for the state.

Ellis said she’s used her voice to call for the change of the state’s 1894 flag for years.

“When I moved back home, that flag became a part of my life, couldn’t ignore it, saw it everywhere,” Ellis said. “I could not accept that. It just became insufferable to me.”

WDAM was there five years ago at the state capitol when Ellis declared she couldn’t bring her business to her home state.

“I will not act in another film shot in this state until the battle flag of northern Virginia, the Confederate flag, the flag of the KKK, comes down,” Ellis said.

She also sparked the conversation for changing the flag in 2014 when Ellis said she placed a billboard on Interstate 55. It said, “WE SHALL OVERCOME,” written in the Confederate flag.

“And I did that intentionally because I wanted black people and white people to be offended. You know? I wanted black folks and white folks to be offended and that’s what happened, and I just wanted to wake the sleeping giant,” Ellis said.

She said now with the retirement of the flag, she can bring her passion for acting back home.

“I can make movies. I can be a part of movies in Mississippi again,” Ellis said.

Ellis said everything she did for the sake of the flag changing was a labor of love, then and now.

“Everything that I love most in the world is from or comes from Mississippi,” Ellis said.

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