By Justin Worland
August 16, 2015

John Grisham and Morgan Freeman are among the dozens of prominent Mississippi natives calling on their home state to remove the Confederate battle flag from the official state flag in a full-page ad in the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger.

“It’s 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 flag that glorifies a war fought to keep their own ancestors enslaved,” the ad reads.

The letter, which was also signed by Archie Manning, Hugh Freeze and Jimmy Buffet, touches on the history of the flag and notes that Confederate General Robert E. Lee asked that the flag be removed after the Civil War.

The confederate battle flag, once a mainstay on state flags in the South, has seen a backlash in recent years. The alleged June killing of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina by a white supremacist who posed with the flag prompted national discussions about the flag’s place and led the state to remove the symbol from state grounds.

Read Next: Watch the Emotional Speech That Helped Bring Down the Confederate Flag

Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

Read More From TIME

EDIT POST