Steve Earle Tackles Confederate Flag Controversy with “Mississippi, It’s Time”

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photo by Joshua Black Wilkins

Steve Earle, hardly a stranger to addressing thorny political issues in song, has tackled the Confederate flag controversy with the tune “Mississippi, It’s Time.”

Earle’s song, released in partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization for civil rights, calls for the removal of the Confederate flag likeness from the Mississippi state flag. The Magnolia State is currently the only state that retains the image of the “Stars and Bars,” the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War, on its state flag.

“I grew up in the South and lived there until I was 50 and I know that I’m not the only Southerner who never believed for one second that the Confederate battle flag is symbolic of anything but racism in anything like a modern context,” Earle said. “This is about giving those Southerners a voice.”

The chorus to remove the likeness of the Confederate battle flag from any official government property has grown steadily since a gun massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, left nine African-American church worshippers dead. After the shootings, pictures surfaced of the assailant brandishing the Confederate flag as a symbol of white supremacy.

“We’re pleased that Steve Earle has added his voice to the growing number of Americans who are demanding that Mississippi and other governmental entities no longer display the Confederate flag,” Morris Dees, founder of the SPLC, said in a statement. “This potent and divisive symbol of white supremacy has no place on the official state flag of Mississippi or in any other public spaces.”

Watch the lyric video below.