A Confederate-marked flag that had flown outside Oregon's Capitol for a decade was quietly taken down early this week, state officials have confirmed.
The removal of Mississippi's state flag comes months after The Oregonian/OregonLive raised questions about its presence, after a racially motivated church shooting that killed nine in South Carolina last summer.
The suspected gunman in the shooting posed with the Confederate battle emblem, which appears prominently in the Mississippi flag. Though the image has long been controversial and faced bans, outcry over the shooting pushed more several cities and states, even in the South, to pull the emblem down.
"I grew up with this flag, and it was used around me for the same reasons it even exists," Rep. Lew Frederick, D-Portland, told The Oregonian/OregonLive last June. "To taunt African Americans, to remind us of our status in the historical South, and to remind us of exactly what it symbolizes to those who carry or display it: Racism and their attachment to racism."
Oregon's top lawmakers promised last week that the emblem would come down from an installation on the west side of the Capitol that features tribal and state flags.
They had agreed last fall to wait to see whether Mississippi might change the flag on its own sometime this year. That didn't happen. And on Friday, the day after the Oregon Legislature adjourned, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, and House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, took steps to act.
"Until Mississippi adopts another flag, one that honors the dignity of all people," Kotek said on Twitter last week, after The Oregonian/OregonLive reported the imminent removal. "This is the right thing to do."