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Miss. to Display State Flag With Confederate Emblem on Highway Patrol Vehicles

February 9, 2004

After a four-year ban, Mississippi Highway Patrol cars will again display the state flag with its Confederate emblem, according to the Associated Press on February 4. Public Safety Commissioner Rusty Fortenberry, in an interview with the Associated Press, said all patrol cars will carry an official decal with the flag. He made the decision after being asked by new Republican Gov. Haley Barbour to review a ban imposed in 2000 by L.M. Claiborne, the first black chief of the Highway Patrol. Claiborne had banned all decals during the first days of Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove's administration, saying he wanted patrol cars to have a uniform look. Troopers were putting unofficial flag decals on their cars, along with university logos, Playboy decals and other personal tags. Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP, said allowing the decal on patrol cars is offensive. ``For African Americans in the state, that flag symbolizes a very painful past,'' he said.
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