Mississippi Gov. Reeves signs bill stripping Confederate emblem from flag

James Marshall
July 4, 2020

He mused with another spectator about how in 1968, as a young African American ROTC cadet, his first unit crest included the flag, with its Confederate emblem.

He paused, reflected, then said: "I thought it was possible".

The flag was then presented to Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn, who helped deliver it to the Museum of Mississippi History.

Museum officials plan to create an exhibit about the flag for the history museum.

MS began grappling with the flag once again this spring as a result of the death of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police, which rapidly evolved into a sprawling expression of fury and exasperation over the countless manifestations of the nation's tangled racial history.

About 100 people attended the second part of the ceremony outside of the museums.

Several Black lawmakers have been campaigning for years to change the flag.

Anderson praised Gunn and Hosemann as "two great men". "I don't agree with the process that they went through to take it down".

The now former MS state flag was removed from the tunnel in the Senate subway Tuesday evening. Governor Reeves says he understands the need to retire the 126-year-old flag but also recognizes some Mississippians who won't.

State Sen. John Horhn said he began to tear up when he saw the flag come down. The Mississippi Baptist Convention intoned that removing the rebel image from the state flag was a moral move. Two years ago, a top Republican in the state House of Representatives proposed a compromise in which MS would have two state flags, one with the Confederate emblem and one without it.

A groundswell of young activists, college athletes and leaders from business, religion, education and sports called on MS to make the change, finally providing the momentum for legislators to vote. Voters will have the chance to approve the design in November, Reeves' office said in a statement.

The new design "will not include the Confederate battle flag but shall include the words "In God We Trust", the law reads.

Honor Guard members pulled the flag down from the flag pole and folded it ahead of a retirement ceremony. The 59-year-old said she had been doubtful she would see it removed in her lifetime.

"That flag has been a distraction used to divide MS for too long", Whitley said. I do think that the people, if we left it up to the people, the people would've voted to take it down. Much like the immensely popular - and noncontroversial - SC state flag that boasts a Palmetto tree (the state tree) and a crescent moon. Maybe now we can rally around a symbol as Mississippians. "I think there are a lot of people who think that MS is just always going to be MS when it comes to healthcare, education, infrastructure".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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