126 years after its adoption, and three years after Cochran Firm attorney and the first African American municipal judge in Clarksdale, Mississippi Carlos Moore removed it from his courtroom, the people of Mississippi voted, by nearly 73%, to replace the state flag, which featured the Confederate battle flag, with a new flag featuring the state flower and the words “In God We Trust”. Earlier in the year Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill to remove the old flag and a commission to design an alternative was created.
While a 2001 effort by the NAACP and Mississippi State University did not garner enough votes to change the flag, momentum swung in favor of replacement among black and white Mississippians alike, likely in part due to the summer of racial unrest in Mississippi and throughout the country.
As a long-time advocate of removing the flag, it was Cochran Firm attorney Carlos Moore’s first order of business as the first African American Clarksdale Municipal Judge to have the old flag removed from his courtroom and chambers. Earlier, attorney Moore filed a federal lawsuit that sought an injunction that would keep the state from flying the flag. The suit was tossed out of court in 2016. Moore’s ejection of the flag from his court room made national headlines in 2017, and he was the recipient of numerous death threats over the move.
“Most of the people that appear before me will be African-American, and they need to feel that the courtroom is gonna be a place they can get justice,” he said. “That flag does not stand for justice.”- Carlos Moore
Now, three years later, Carlos Moore says that the changing of the flag is like a dream come true.
In addition to the protests over the summer, pressure to change the Mississippi State flag came from Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach and University of Mississippi head football coach Lane Kiffin to supplement those who had worked for years to see this day come.
Carlos Moore is a native of Moss Point Mississippi and the Managing Partner of The Cochran Firm – Mississippi Delta in Grenada, Mississippi. He is the President-Elect of The National Bar Association and will serve as president from August 2021 to August 2022 and will be the first person from Mississippi to preside over the nearly 100 year old network of predominantly African American attorneys and judges.
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