WEDNESDAY, JAN. 31, 2007

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Democrats praise civil rights museum vote

JACKSON (Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007) – Mississippi Democratic Party leaders commended the state House of Representatives for an overwhelming vote today in favor of a $50 million civil rights museum in the state.

The proposal passed the House 117-3 and is expected to head to the state Senate for consideration. The no votes came from three Republicans: Jim Ellington of Raymond, Stephen Horne of Meridian and Sam Mims of McComb.

State Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, said a civil rights museum is long overdue.

“Mississippi has a history lesson for the whole world,” Flaggs said. “We can begin to change the myths and perception about Mississippi and start recruiting people back to Mississippi for progressive positions, jobs and opportunities.”

The proposal would let the state borrow $50 million to construct a state civil rights museum in Jackson, Greenwood or another location in the Mississippi Delta. The site would be on vacant or historically significant property.

The museum would be under the supervision and control of the Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives and History.

Flaggs said he was disappointed the bill attracted three no votes, adding that “anytime there is dissension on progress it surprises me and hurts.”

“But I think (the bill) is bigger,” Flaggs said. “I think we have to go to the next level. I just hope that the Senate will do likewise and pass it so that we can begin to develop this project.”

Wayne Dowdy, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party, also praised the House vote: “This is a major step forward for what likely will be a source of great historical significance and value for all of the state.”

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