Wednesday, 15 July, 2020

Mississippi Legislature Approves Removal Confederate Emblem From State Flag

US-HISTORY-POLITICS-RACISM Source RORY DOYLE Getty
Cary Erickson | 30 June, 2020, 16:13

MS will retire the last state flag in the US with the Confederate battle emblem, more than a century after White supremacist legislators adopted the design a generation after the South lost the Civil War.

Both houses of the legislature voted this weekend to remove the symbol and appoint a panel to design a new flag, according to media reports.

Gov. Tate Reeves is expected to sign the bill soon. Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn has been calling for a change in the flag for the last five years as he deemed it offensive.

The NCAA backed the conference and raised the ante by refusing to hold championship events in any state with flags that showcased the Confederate battle emblem.

In the 19th century, Southern states, faced with the prospect of having to give up slavery, formed the Confederacy and broke away from the United States, leading to the 1861-1865 Civil War.

Up until earlier this month, most state residents were in favor of keeping the flag the way it is, as it is symbolic of their ancestors who fought for MS in the Civil War.

But after video showing a white officer fatally pressing his knee to Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes provoked outrage that sent tens of thousands of Americans of all ethic backgrounds into the streets for weeks of protests, Confederate symbols have been coming down. The flag was adopted in 1894, long after the South lost the Civil War. He has not confirmed when he will sign the bill.

On June 18, 2020, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said no conference championship would be held in MS unless the flag was changed.

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Shawn Parker, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, told Baptist Press he believes the decision to replace the flag design was the right one.

After the hearings, legislators choose not to come up with a new flag design.

"How sweet it is to celebrate this on the Lord's day", Gunn said. Almost four dozen of Mississippi's university athletic directors and coaches came to the Capitol to lobby for change.

In 2000, the Mississippi Supreme Court discovered that the state had left out legislation regarding the flag when it updated its laws in 1906. That meant the banner lacked official status.

The vote to remove the flag was an overwhelming "yes".

The Democratic governor in 2000, Ronnie Musgrove, appointed a commission to decide the flag's future.

"That battle flag has been hijacked". Instead, they added the issue on a 2001 statewide ballot, in which MS citizens voted in favor of keeping the flag. It has too long served as a symbol of oppression, racism and justice.

"Today is a history-making day in the state of Mississippi", Simmons told colleagues before the decision was made. "Let's vote today for the MS of tomorrow".