Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signs bill to replace state flag, the last in the US to display the Confederate emblem

Written by on June 30, 2020

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As Walmart lowers Mississippi’s state flag from storefronts, be taught why the notorious “insurgent flag” is not even traditionally correct. USA TODAY

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a invoice Tuesday night that mandates the removing of the state flag and bans future use of the Accomplice emblem.

Mississippi was the one state whose flag contained the Accomplice battle flag. Lawmakers adopted it almost three a long time after the Civil Conflict.

“Whether or not you might be pleased with this step or indignant with us over the method, I would like you to know that I really like you,” Reeves stated. “I’m praying for you.”

Reeves had lengthy refused to take a place on the flag, which the Legislature adopted in 1894. Practically two-thirds of voters reaffirmed the flag in a 2001 referendum, and Reeves has repeatedly pointed to this referendum, saying solely voters can determine to take the flag down.

He softened the stance per week in the past, then introduced on Saturday morning that the problem had grown too divisive and that he would signal no matter flag invoice lawmakers handed.

Hours after the announcement, the Legislature began the formal process to take down the present flag.

Reeves stated throughout a speech Tuesday that some folks may by no means discover widespread floor on the flag debate and that therapeutic won’t happen in a single day.

The Mississippi state flag: What we know, and what’s next

“I do know there are folks of goodwill who should not glad to see this flag change,” Reeves stated Tuesday. “They concern a series response of occasions erasing our historical past — a historical past that’s little doubt difficult and imperfect. I perceive these issues and am decided to guard Mississippi from that harmful end result.”

That Mississippi modified its flag after 125 years was virtually inconceivable only a month in the past.

Lawmakers have filed payments for years to alter the flag with no success. Payments filed this 12 months have been anticipated to die with out debate. 

Whereas a scholar at Millsaps Faculty, Reeves was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, which organized Accomplice-themed events, and attended costume formals.” Earlier this 12 months, he acknowledged April as Accomplice Heritage Month, according to the Jackson Free Press.

Then, video of a white police officer kneeling for almost 9 minutes on the neck of George Floyd on Memorial Day went viral. The demise of Floyd, who was Black, led to a nationwide looking on racial inequality.

Mississippi has a better proportion of Black residents than some other state, and plenty of pushing to alter the flag stated it was time to take away an emblem of white supremacy from Mississippi’s banner.

Reeves alluded to that sentiment on Tuesday.

“Now I can admit that as younger boy rising up in Florence, I couldn’t have understood the ache that a few of our neighbors felt once they checked out our flag,” Reeves stated. “A ache that made many really feel unwelcome and undesirable.”

As younger activists organized huge protests all through the state in June, Reeves repeatedly deflected questions in regards to the state flag at a press convention. When requested what he sees when he seems on the flag, Reeves replied, “I see a flag that the overwhelming majority of Mississippians voted in 2001 to keep up as Mississippi’s state flag.“

It was the primary time since 2015, when a white supremacist killed 9 Black church members in Charleston, South Carolina, {that a} huge groundswell of opposition to the Mississippi flag brought about leaders to mirror on the state flag — and whether or not it represents all Mississippians.

This time, lawmakers determined they needed to act.

“Energy concedes nothing with no demand. It by no means did, and it by no means will,” Sen. Angela Turner-Ford, who leads the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, stated at a Monday information convention. “And what energy are we referring to? The ability of the Confederacy, that perpetuated the flag of 1894, holding its place of prominence on this state up till this previous Sunday.”

Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood, spoke Sunday to his colleagues about slavery, and about discrimination he witnessed rising up within the Delta. He stated eradicating the flag helps the state’s picture. On Monday, the 87-year-old who has served since 1933, was requested if he believed he would see the flag come down whereas he was nonetheless within the Senate, and even throughout his lifetime. 

“Most likely no,” he stated. “However God works in mysterious methods.”

Contact Giacomo “Jack” Bologna at 601-961-7282 or gbologna@gannett.com. Observe him on Twitter @gbolognaCL.

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