MS finally removes Confederate symbol from state flag after 126 years

Pablo Tucker
July 4, 2020

Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill on Tuesday that takes a historic step to retire the last USA state flag that features Confederate imagery.

Robert Clark in 1967 became the first African American since Reconstruction to win a seat in the Mississippi Legislature, and he rose to the second-highest leadership spot during his 36 years in the House.

Senator Wicker oversaw the removal and placement of a temporary flag, showing the MS state seal. But, people weren't ready to listen before he left office.

He accepted the banners at the doors of the Two Museums and said the flag is now "an artifact, and where it should be is in a history museum".

NORWOOD: In 2001, residents voted overwhelmingly not to change the flag.

In the wake of defiant voices and common sense from major businesses, the sports world, music stars and the public, and with the backdrop of continued racial injustice and police brutality, the MS legislature did the right thing - lowering for the last time a flag that hurt more than it helped, caused more pain than pride and kept down my home state that has so much more to offer, so much more to be proud of. The new law requires a ceremony for the "prompt, dignified and respectful removal" of the banner. "So, I disagree with the process, but it's been done and it's a historic day for the state of MS". The museum will put one flag in an exhibit and two into archives.

"The 1894 flag has flown over our state for 126 years, during which time our state saw good moments as well as some of its darkest".

Tate said a commission on the flag would "begin the process of selecting a new one - emblazoned with the words 'In God We Trust'". Voters will be asked to approve the design in the November 3 election. If they reject it, the commission will draft a different design using the same guidelines, to be sent to voters later.

The flag with blue, white and red stripes and the Confederate emblem in its corner was adopted in 1894 and both the state House and Senate voted to alter the design on Sunday.

"I want to be cautious in how much significance we attach to" removing the Confederate battle symbol, said Rolph, who is also a member of the Mississippi Historical Society. "Kids growing up with that Confederate symbol flapping on its flag".

The flag issue was still broadly considered too volatile for legislators to touch, until the police custody death of an African American man in Minneapolis, George Floyd.

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