Jackson County

Ocean Springs mayor changes his mind about flying state flag at City Hall

The state flag that is flying over City Hall will be taken down by Ocean Springs Mayor Shea Dobson, he said on Facebook.
The state flag that is flying over City Hall will be taken down by Ocean Springs Mayor Shea Dobson, he said on Facebook. klnelson@sunherald.com file

Last week, Ocean Springs Mayor Shea Dobson he would fly the state flag at City Hall no matter the design.

This week, however, he changed his mind.

Dobson took to his personal Facebook on Tuesday to let citizens know the state flag would be coming down. In an interview with the Sun Herald on Nov. 7., Dobson said he suggested the state vote on a new design for the flag, but he said he’d continue to fly the current flag until that vote would, if ever, happen.

“I believe this decision is in the best interest of the City in order to move forward and focus on what makes Ocean Springs great,” Dobson posted about 5:30 p.m.

The state flag has been a topic of discussion and controversy in Ocean Springs since Dobson took office.

Former Mayor Connie Moran removed the flag because of the Confederate battle emblem. Many residents say the Confederate emblem is offensive, while others believe it represents the history of our state and should fly.

The Mississippi Rising Coalition (MRC) and members of Macedonia Baptist Church in Ocean Springs attended a Board of Aldermen meeting last week and expressed concern about what the flag represents and asked Dobson to take it down.

The meeting, which is streamed live on Facebook, was trolled by people asking about a “couch.” Some commenters used language and symbols associated with the alt-right and white supremacists. Dobson at first questioned the validity of the commenters, but the city ultimately decided to take the post down.

The MRC also ran a booth at the Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival and passed out stickers that said, “Mr. Mayor, Take It Down!” Dobson posted a response to Facebook, and it went viral, drawing support and criticism from residents.

It’s not clear if the flag will still fly at other government buildings in Ocean Springs.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @JustinMitchell_

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