Mississippi votes to remove Confederate battle emblem from state flag

Tanya Simon
July 1, 2020

Lawmakers voted on Sunday to remove the MS state flag, the last in the nation featuring the Confederate battle emblem, more than 126 years after it was adopted. The Mississippi House voted 91 in favor and 23 opposed. The vote in the Senate was 37-14. Kylin Hill, a Mississippi State running back, tweeted last week that he was no longer willing to represent an institution that uses the flag.

At a Black Lives Matter protest outside the Mississippi Governor´s Mansion in early June, thousands cheered as an organizer said the state needs to divorce itself from all Confederate symbols. The Southeastern Conference earlier this month threatened to not place any of its championship events in MS until the flag - widely viewed as a symbol of racism, oppression, and slavery - was changed. "The entire nation is watching".

The possibility remains that should the flag proposed in November not get a majority vote, or the Legislature may not ratify that approval in January, which would leave MS in a kind of limbo vis-a-vis having an official flag.

Sen. Briggs Hopson, left, R-Vicksburg, is hugged by Sen.

Republican governor Tate Reeves has backed the move to erase the controversial motif. "I'm proud not to represent that flag anymore and to not be associated with anything representing the Confederacy".

Reeves had said that any change to the flag should come through a popular vote rather than the Legislature.

MS has been the only state ineligible for NCAA championship sites because of the state's flag. "Right now, they are considering suspending the rules to change the flag".

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"We are better today than we were yesterday", said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, who authored the bill that passed on Sunday. He was responding to Reeves saying a proposed second state flag would be divisive.

A commission will design a new flag that can not include the Confederate symbol and that must have the words 'In God We Trust'.

"This is a glorious day that we have the nerve and the courage to change something that pretty well hurts, although they may be afraid to say it, 1 million African-Americans of this state".

Last week, the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning voted relocate a Confederate statue, erected in 1906, from a location near the Ole Miss administration building.

The voters in the Deep South state will vote on the new design this November.

"The battle for a better MS does not end with the removal of the flag, and we should work in concert to make other positive changes in the interest of all of our people", said Winter, a Democrat who was governor from 1980 until 1984. "I ask each of you as we recognize the MS of yesterday let us vote today for the MS of tomorrow".

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