Jackson, Mississippi Mayor: Flags should represent 'unity'

Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba discusses the new state flag and the wave of progressive leaders in the Deep South.
6:26 | 09/04/20

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Transcript for Jackson, Mississippi Mayor: Flags should represent 'unity'
We turn now to a historic racial reckoning that's happening in Mississippi. In June lawmakers in that state voted to take down. They're 100 in 26 year old state flag. The last in the country to include the confederate battle emblem. This week a committee chose a new design. And we see it right here twenty white stars ringing all white magnolia flower with the words in god we trust. Voters will decide in November whether to approve it. And tonight we had the honor to bring in Jackson Mississippi mayor. Show weigh on tar from the moon bock who was part of the movement to bring down the old flag mayor thanks so much for being with me. Thank you for having me care. I just beaten. And likewise tell us about this new design and why you feel Mississippi's century old state flag needed to be replace. Well I don't profess to be flag expert so so you know and lag. I think it's a beautiful design and cannot think that people will be most excited about removing the symbolism of the old flag. The old flag represented violence and share and a flag in and of its nature is supposed to symbolize the unity. Of the people who call lender. And so we're excited to see that come down. I think that in this moment we really have to lift up voices. Have been a part of the effort to remove this symbolism for quite some time people who are no longer hear what that's like scenery Kirk see senator and we curtsy. And people like Aaron Henry and it isn't it is in this moment that I really remember there effort and end their legacy. Well in the magnolia flower I mean you can't get more southern then that I mean wet what a beautiful flower how did you come up with the design hat. And who who was involved with that project. Well deprive that the process of selecting. The designs. Went through eight there was a commission that was established. And residents were able soon. Enter submissions into. Ford led them to review. And through that submission process and indeed the review of that day centered on that particular. I design and so now will go to be. The residents to vote on in the up coming election. So I think that we need to embrace our collective process. About which people understand the symbolism of the flag. I may embrace the new meaning in the new trajectory. We want to be lowered as state. Well I'm always curious about the meanings of of certain things it in particular flowers so well. We were chatting I actually looked up the magnolia flower meaning and it says it's attached with the symbols of perseverance nobility. Beauty sweetness dignity and love of nature so you know why. IA I think that's a pretty good simple hook up. It seems appropriate to me eat you hear it doesn't take a long time to be in the state of Mississippi. Seen it where we're bear out of our beautiful magnolia tree. How we protect them people embrace them and and you know you just educated me in this moment about the symbolism the meaning behind him. Well let's let's talk about the decision to take down the flight from on and there was some criticism. That the old flag. It was made by state lawmakers and instead by the people in a referendum vote so in. Previous referendums voters chose to keep the old flag and polls suggest about half of the state would vote that way again what are your thoughts on that. I think you know as I say just a moment ago flag represents the unity of the people all under it. And we noted that flag represented terror and represented violence. It gives us it it reminds us of the song goats Nina Simone. A strange fruit. Singing from knees Mississippi trees. And I think that as we talk about progress as we try to take. Progressive stance moving ball or I've been we have to move from being the news south to the new south. And the symbolism makes a great deal of difference now we can't be stuck just now on the symbolism of things. We have to move from the symbolism to the subs and changes that we have to see in this state. There has been some progress we have a great deal ago. And so I'm happy to see. This measure I'd take place at this time and I think we're on the right side of history. And I see on the flight it says in god we trust wiley is that important TU to have that on the flag. I think in the negotiation. Between the state legislature. Looking at out what words in and white images were important to them. That was one of the but things that that was signed negotiated. And exchanged the removal of flag. Bad is based somewhere stared at some of the legislatures. Legislators. Wanted to see and so that's why I redesigned to incorporate those Woertz. So mayor there's been a wave of black democratic mayors elected in prominent southern cities like Jackson and some firsts like when you became the youngest mayor in Jackson's history. Tell me about the cultural shifts in your city and in others in the deep south and and what that means to you. I think people are are moving to a place of outside no longer. It's merely. Accepting the status quo. They want some say over the agenda that bad dictates that lives. And so they want to see the progressive leadership which represents bear agenda. And I'm happy to be a part of this moment. I have so many brands that have taken leadership of their cities. My gifts Rand Randall what's been in in Birmingham Alabama. I have my strand all the way in Stockton California. Michael Adrian Perkins. Frank Scott and so. We are seeing that there's a shift taking place. And so it's it's no longer acceptable. Too soon not triple a clan of progressive leadership. Communities are becoming more informed more engaged. In bare their conditions and they want leadership which reflects an and so I'm happy to be just just present and and and a pillow role. That I'm I'm so honored to steal at this time. Maryland boom I was so nice chatting with you appreciate your time. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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