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Powerful photo shows confederate flag supporters watching Jackson State marching band

(Photo by William Spell Jr.)

A glance at the calendar reveals its now late August, which mean’s its time for the start of a new academic year around America. It also signals the end of summer and the return of (black) college football and marching band seasons.

Around the country, HBCUs opened their doors to new students, returning students and the community by holding events that signaled the start of something new. The scene was the same in Jackson, Mississippi as Jackson State’s Sonic Boom, featuring the J-Setts dance team, performed in the state’s capital city.

Meanwhile, a group of people gathered to rally in support of the embattled Confederate Flag, which many people suddenly realized was a symbol of racial oppression in the south after only 150 or so years.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Even in this age of constantly streaming media images, this one stands out.

We could try to decode what this picture says about the complicated state of race relations in 2015, just two months after a young man rallying under the call of that flag killed nine black people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

We could look at the historical significance of how the spirit of that flag began the South’s long paternalistic/abusive nature of historically black colleges like Jackson State.

We could discuss how many of those flag’s supporters will root for teams like Ole Miss and Mississippi State, who only recently began accepting players that look like the Jackson State band.

But we’ll just let the photo speak for itself.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sincerely Yours

    August 24, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    As a Mississippian, an alum of Jackson State University, and a book lover, I feel compelled to weigh in. I have seen this picture numerous times since Saturday and read numerous comments along the lines that The Boom shouldn't have performed and the like. However, I'd like to clarify something. This was NOT a group of people rallying in support of that flag. It was just those two individuals. The rest of those in that photo were volunteers and supporters of the book festivals who stood in front of the steps of our State Capitol waiting and cheering my beloved Boom. Now, I'm not saying there weren't others in attendance in support of that flag, but those two were the only visible ones. I saw when they walked up and I have them the necessary side eye. They only moved up closer when the announcement came that The Boom was about to come out to perform. Would have fathered they not been there, in the front? Yes!

    I know this to be true because I was there. As I stood amongst the crowd, I heard whispers condemning those two for coming out. I am thankful that no one confronted them and that the attention I assume they sought went unheeded. They were the ones who looked completely out of place.

    The moment was about the opening of Mississippi's first book festival not two at retention seeking individuals. The day was beautiful and so were my fellow book lovers. My Boom wowed the crowd and accomplished the task that they set out to accomplish, rocking the house or in this case, the outside. They performed beautifully as only The Boom could. On a beautiful Saturday surrounded by books, I couldn't have been prouder to be both a Mississippian AND an alumna of Jackson State University. #TheeILove #Takeitdown

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