John Grisham, Greg Iles and Kathryn Stocket Lead Charge to Remove Confederate Flag in Mississippi

Posted on August 18, 2015

Authors John Grisham, Greg Iles, Steve Yarbrough and Kathryn Stockett are four of the signatories to an open letter that ran as a full page ad in Mississippi's The Clarion-Ledger. The letter calls for the replacement of the Mississippi state flag, which features a Confederate battle flag as part of its design.

The letter is addressed "Dear Fellow Mississippians." It discuses the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, and urges Mississippi to change its state flag.

The letter traces the history of the Confederate flag and notes that "The Rebel flag meant one thing to [General Robert E.] Lee and his men 150 years ago. Today, to many, it stands for something far different."

The letter goes on to say, "It is simply not fair, or honorable, to ask black Mississippians to attend schools,compete in athletic events, work in the public sector, serve in the National Guard, and go about their normal lives with a state fag that glorifies a war fought to keep their ancestors enslaved."

The letter was drafted by Grisham and Iles, who circulated the letter to other Mississippians. John Grisham told Time magazine that he believes that the flag will eventually come down in Mississippi, although he said that the change in Mississippi is "painfully slow."

He explained how the letter came about: "Greg Iles floated the idea about a month ago. He wrote the first draft, I wrote the second, then back and forth a few times until we had it. We began contacting other friends, primarily writers, journalists, publishers, poets. The response was very enthusiastic and the list kept growing." Grisham has been fighting to get the flag changed since 2001, but the movement has finally picked up steam.

Other celebrities who have signed include musician Jimmy Buffett, actor Morgan Freeman, University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze and former NFL quarterback Archie Manning. You can see the full ad in a .pdf file here.