Carlos Moore made history this week when he took to the bench as the first African-American municipal judge in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Then he made a ruckus.
On his first day on the job, Moore ordered officials to remove the Mississippi state flag from his courtroom, because that flag contains the Confederate emblem in its upper left corner.
“It was such a great feeling to see the police officer drag the despicable flag from the courtroom during open court. Great first day!” the judge posted on Facebook on Monday.
In Moore’s eyes, the Mississippi state flag doesn’t stand for justice and instead shows the state supports the Confederacy’s legacy of slavery, he told CNN affiliate WATN-TV in Memphis.
Another factor in Moore’s decision was the fact that a lot of the people who will stand before him in court will be African-Americans.
“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.”
It isn’t the first time Moore has fought the flag. He filed a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the state from flying the flag and to rule that its design is unconstitutional. But US District Judge Carlton W. Reeves tossed the suit out last year.
Charleston shooting renewed calls for change
Mississippi is the last state with a flag that contains the Confederate battle emblem.
In 2001, Mississippi residents voted to keep the flag’s current design.
Renewed calls to change it surged in 2015 after the massacre of nine African-Americans at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, brought the issue back into the spotlight. Shooter Dylann Roof apparently revered the flag as a symbol of white supremacy.
In October 2015, the University of Mississippi removed the state flag from its campus. Some Mississippi cities have voted or issued executive orders to remove the state flag from city property since the Charleston shooting. Others have voted to keep it flying.
The state capital, Jackson, hasn’t flown the flag on city property in more than a decade. The Jackson City Council voted last year to urge the state to create a new flag, CNN affiliate WAPT-TV in Jackson reported.