Mississippi to Remove Confederate Symbol From State Flag.The state legislature passed a bill on Sunday to remove the emblem from the flag - the only remaining state flag to feature it.The legislation passed in the state House with a 91-23 vote and the state Senate in a 37-14 vote. It will be signed into law by Governor Tate Reeves.Finally, Mississippi decided to be one of the 50 states, and not the one state standing alone still bearing the emblem of a segregated society, NAACP president Derrick

UPDATE: Governor signs bill to remove Confederate emblem from Mississippi’s flag

Reeves had signed the bill as of 6:12 p.m. Tuesday that would officially call for the removal of the Confederate battle emblem on the state’s flag, according to Kayla Thompson, a reporter with CBS affiliate CBS-12 in Mississippi.


His office earlier announced a signing ceremony at the Governor's Mansion, two days after a broad coalition of legislators passed the landmark measure to change the flag.

»MORE: Confederate flag losing prominence 155 years after Civil War

As soon as the Republican governor signs the bill, the flag will lose its official status. Mississippi has come under increasing pressure to change its flag since protests against racial injustice have focused attention on Confederate symbols.

The state flag has been a source of division for generations.

White supremacist legislators put the Confederate battle emblem, with its red field topped by a blue X with 13 white stars, on the upper-left corner of the Mississippi flag in 1894, as white people were squelching the fragile political power African Americans had gained after the Civil War.

Critics have said for generations that it’s wrong for a state where 38% of the people are Black to honor the rebel emblem, particularly since the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups have used it to promote racist agendas.

Mississippi voters chose to keep the flag in a 2001 statewide election, with supporters saying they see it as a symbol of heritage. But since then a growing number of cities and all the state’s public universities have abandoned it.

WATCH: Mississippians weigh in on changing the state flag

Several Black legislators, and a few white ones, kept pushing for years to change it. After a white gunman who posed with the Confederate flag killed Black worshipers at a South Carolina church in 2015, Mississippi’s Republican speaker of the House, Philip Gunn, said his religious faith compelled him to say that Mississippi must purge the symbol from its flag.

»MORE: Alabama mayor resigns after post about Crimson Tide’s BLM video

But the issue was still broadly considered too volatile for legislators to touch, until the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis set off weeks of sustained protests against racial injustice, followed by call after call to take down Confederate symbols.

A groundswell of business, religion, education and sports leaders called on Mississippi to make this change, finally providing the momentum for legislators to vote.

Reeves has repeatedly refused to say whether he thinks the Confederate-themed flag properly represents present-day Mississippi, sticking to a position he ran on last year, when he promised people that if the flag design was going to be reconsidered, it would be done in another statewide election.

Now, a commission will design a new flag, one that cannot include the Confederate symbol and must have the words “In God We Trust.” Voters will be asked to approve the new design in the Nov. 3 election. If they reject it, the commission will set a different design using the same guidelines, to be sent to voters later.

___

Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.

Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.

X