Mississippi To Strip Confederate Emblem From State Flag Because It’s Racist
Mississippi lawmakers have taken a significant step towards having the controversial Confederate emblem removed completely from the 126-year-old state flag.
On Saturday, June 27, both state congress chambers voted in favour of putting process in motion that will result in the emblem being removed. This move has been a long time coming, with Mississippi being the very last US state to bear the Confederate emblem on its flag.
Loud cheers were reportedly heard in the Mississippi House of Representatives as the measure was passed by a vote of 85-34, followed by the Senate with a vote of 36-14.
The newly-passed resolution suspends rules, so lawmakers may consider a proposed bill that would allow for a change of flag, CNN reports.
Mississippi’s current flag dates back to 1894. Featuring red, white and blue stripes, the Confederate battle emblem can be seen in the corner. In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, the US Marines, NASCAR and other companies have moved to replace the Confederate flag.
There have been various proposals over the years to have the flag changed, but until now these proposals did not come to fruition. In 2001, Mississippi residents were given the chance to vote for a flag redesign through a public referendum, however 64% of voters chose not to do so.
However, in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the subsequent worldwide focus on institutionalised racism, Mississippi lawmakers have been rightly put under pressure to think again about the harrowing connotations of the Confederate emblem.
Earlier this week, the Mississippi Baptist Convention said state lawmakers had a moral obligation to remove the emblem, as it had ‘hurt and shamed’ so many people in the US, Reuters reports.
Republican Governor Tate Reeves had previously stated he would not veto a bill, but did not give it his public backing.
However, in a significant move forward, Governor Reeves yesterday tweeted, ‘if they send me a bill this weekend, I will sign it’.
We should not be under any illusion that a vote in the Capitol is the end of what must be done — the job before us is to bring the state together and I intend to work night and day to do it.
It will be harder than recovering from tornadoes, harder than historic floods, harder than agency corruption, or prison riots or the coming hurricane season — even harder than battling the Coronavirus.
Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn said lawmakers had done the right thing in passing this long-awaited resolution.
Gunn, who has shown public support for changing the flag for several years, told the Mississippi Clarion Ledger:
Change is hard. People are going to resist initially, but I think over time it’s going to be proven that this was the right decision. We’re poised to reach our full potential now.
The resolution calls for a new flag design to be commissioned, which will bear the words ‘In God We Trust’. This new design will reportedly be put forward for a public vote in November.
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CreditsCNN and 4 others
Mississippi Clarion Ledger