Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a historic bill withdrawing the state’s 126-year-old flag containing Confederate battle emblem, a racist symbol that has served as a source of division for generations.
“We are a resilient people defined by our hospitality. We are a people of great faith. Now, more than ever, we must lean on that faith, put our divisions behind us, and unite for a greater good,” he said. Mississippi lawmakers have faced increasing pressure to change the flag. Last weekend, a coalition of legislators passed a bill removing the state’s flag, and calling for a commission to design a new one, which voters will be asked to approve in the 3 November election. 38% of the population of the state is Black. White supremacist lawmakers placed the symbol on the Mississippi flag in 1894, thirty years after the civil war.
After protests errupted linked to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, young activists, college athletes and leaders from business, religion, education and sports called on Mississippi to make the change. The flag of Mississippi was the last state banner to incorporate the Confederate battle emblem.