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Walmart rids Mississippi stores of state flag bearing Confederate emblem

Congress takes down Confederate portraits
Confederate portraits taken down at U.S. Capitol 00:35

With Mississippi leaders under increasing pressure to change the state's flag — which displays a Confederate battle emblem — the nation's biggest retailer and private employer is weighing in on the hot-button issue. Walmart on Tuesday said it will no longer display the state flag in its current form at its stores in Mississippi.

"We know the design of the Mississippi state flag is being discussed by various stakeholders," a Walmart spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CBS MoneyWatch. "While the issue continues to be discussed, we've made the decision to remove the Mississippi state flag from display in its current form from our stores."

The spokesperson added: "We believe it's the right thing to do, and is consistent with Walmart's position to not sell merchandise with the Confederate flag from stores and online sites, as part of our commitment to provide a welcoming and inclusive experience for all of our customers in the communities we serve." 

Amid ongoing racial injustice protests, there has been increasing calls to remove Confederate symbols and monuments honoring those who fought for slavery. Mississippi is the last state to display the Confederate emblem on its state flag. The state has the highest percentage of black American residents in the country.

Confederate flag lowered from statehouses 02:24

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey recently warned that the SEC might not let the state host SEC college sports championship events if the flag is not changed. NASCAR banned the confederate flag from its events after the auto-racing organization's only black driver on a top team said the symbol was offensive. And the Mississippi Baptist Convention said lawmakers have a moral obligation to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag because many people are "hurt and shamed" by it.

Walmart said it removed all items for sale online and in-store that promoted the Confederate flag in 2015. 

The Mississippi flag, which features the Confederate battle emblem prominently in the upper left quadrant, flies in front of state buildings, including the governor's mansion, the state capitol building and municipal structures across the state.

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