Crossett woman reflects on her time in Mississippi as the state retires its flag with Confederate battle emblem

Arkansas News

CROSSETT, Ark. (07/01/20) — The Mississippi state flag came down to the sound of applause at the state’s capitol today.

Shanae Govan, a former Delta State University student-athlete, is also applauding the efforts made by lawmakers.

“It’s a great step in helping not just the state of Mississippi move forward but just the nation at large.”

Govan was a dominant force on the women’s basketball team as she was the team captain and led Delta State in steals, minutes played and assists her senior year of college.

She also made history becoming the first black teacher and coach at a predominantly white private school, Lee Academy.

“It was definitely a culture shock,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.”

The flag was one symbol that provided two different perspectives on history and residents have been divided over that for years.

Govan says the lack of cultural competence was something she had never experienced before.

“They told me they didn’t see me as black. I told them what do you mean,” she recalled. “They said you’re articulate. Your professional. Your educated and I’m like black people are articulate. We are educated.”

Over time, she was able to change some people’s perspective and she hopes those who cling to the heritage of the Confederate emblem will one day accept this new era of history.

“I think it’s important that everyone just step outside of their own personal perspective and see the bigger picture for the future,” Govan said.

Govan says that true change begins with everyone having an overall goal of bettering this country in a way that everyone feels equal and not just a certain group.

A commission will design a new flag which will be put on the ballot for Mississippi voters in November. If there aren’t enough votes, the commission will have to create another flag to be voted on.

Its former flag will be taken to the Mississippi Museum of History where it will be put on a display.

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