Mississippi Lawmakers Clear Path To Remove Confederate Emblem From State Flag

Robert E. Lee Monument

The new flag design will be decided by voters in the November election and the current flag will not be an option, however the new design will be required to include "In God We Trust".

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has backed the removal of the "divisive" emblem, stating on Saturday that he intends to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

House Bill 1796 must be passed by both the Mississippi House and Senate. "They began to understand and feel the same thing I've been feeling for 61 years of my life".

The push to change the flag has grown dramatically in the past week.

Walmart on Tuesday said it would no longer display the flag in its stores, consistent with its decision to not sell merchandise with the Confederate flag from stores and online sites.

MS has been the only state ineligible for NCAA championship sites because of the state's flag.

"Either change the flag or I won't be representing this State anymore & I meant that", Hill wrote on Twitter. "So I am hopeful that it will change, bring forth a symbol that's more unified and represent the diversity of MS". Reeves has already said he would sign the bill.

The debate over the state flag captured the close attention of Mississippians for weeks.

The Magnolia State's flag was adopted in 1894 and it features a red field topped by a blue "X" with 13 white stars. Almost four dozen of Mississippi's university athletic directors and coaches came to the Capitol to lobby for change.

The Magnolia State is the last in the nation to have the stars and bars on its state banner.


Laurin Stennis, an artist, speaks outside her home in Jackson, Mississippi, and explains how she thinks a flag she designed, which flies next to her, would be an appropriate symbol to replace the state flag that Mississippi has used since 1894.

Legislators then opted not to set a flag design themselves.

"Some of you when you come in here don't notice that flag up in the corner", said Democratic Rep. Ed Blackmon, D-Canton.

"Today is a history-making day in the state of Mississippi", Simmons told colleagues.

Ole Miss basketball coach Kermit Davis was among a contingent of 46 coaches and administrators from eight public universities who went to the state legislature Thursday to lobby for the emblem's removal.

Under the legislation, the new design - without the Confederate symbol - would be put on the ballot November 3, but it would be the only choice.

MS in 2001 voted overwhelmingly to retain its current flag, hailed by its defenders as a proud symbol of southern heritage and history.

But Governor Reeves warned Saturday that changing the flag would not end racism or end divisions in his state. "Let's vote today for the MS of tomorrow".



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