Mississippi Votes To Remove Racist Symbol From State Flag
The Mississippi state legislature has now passed a bill to remove the Confederate emblem from its flag after previously passing a resolution to begin the process.
The historic move was put into motion on Saturday, June 27, when both the House and Senate voted in favour of passing a resolution which would allow lawmakers to consider a bill that would change or remove the flag.
The Mississippi House of Representatives passed the measure in a vote of 85-34, while votes from the Senate came in at 36-14.
With the measure given the go-ahead, a bill was proposed and passed on Sunday, clearing the state House in a vote of 91-23 and the state Senate with a result of 37-14, CNN reports.
The controversial Confederate emblem has been part of Mississippi’s flag since 1894, but lawmakers started to consider changing the design amid ongoing anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.
The current design shows the emblem in the top left corner, while the rest of the flag is adorned with red, white and blue stripes. As well as choosing to remove the controversial emblem, the newly passed bill establishes a commission to develop a new flag design which includes the phrase ‘In God, We Trust.’
Mississippi state voters are set to vote on the new design in November.
While some consider the Confederate emblem to be a symbol of southern pride, the Anti-Defamation League recognises it to be a ‘potent symbol of slavery and white supremacy’. In the wake of protests, the US Marines, NASCAR and other organisations have moved to replace or ban the Confederate flag.
Mississippi State Rep. Jeramey Anderson described the passing of the bill as ‘historic’, writing:
I thank my colleagues, constituents and the activists who fought so hard to bring about this historic moment. I thank those who came before us, who with courage and resolve nurtured the Civil Rights Movement that helped bring us to this day. What a beautiful moment of unity.
NAACP president Derrick Johnson spoke to CNN after the bill passed, saying the move was ‘a long time coming.’
Following the votes, the bill will go to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, who has already promised to sign it into law.
He wrote on Saturday:
The legislature has been deadlocked for days as it considers a new state flag. The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it.
If they send me a bill this weekend, I will sign it.
Bertram Hayes-Davis, the great-great-grandson of Jefferson Davis said:
It is historic and heritage-related, there are a lot of people who look at it that way, and God bless them for that heritage. So put it in a museum and honor it there or put it in your house, but the flag of Mississippi should represent the entire population, and I am thrilled that we’re finally going to make that change.
Mississippi is the very last US state to bear the Confederate emblem on its flag, so the new bill will rid its presence on state flags altogether.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]