Mississippi Governor Signs Law Removing Confederate Design From State Flag
After more than 120 years of flying over the state of Mississippi, the Confederate battle flag is no longer a part of the state's official flag.
On Tuesday, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law a bill fast-tracked by the Mississippi Legislature over the weekend that calls for a new design.
In a somber ceremony, Reeves said he was signing the law to turn a page in Mississippi.
"A flag is a symbol of our present, of our people, and of our future," Reeves said. "For those reasons, we need a new symbol."
First adopted in 1894 by white supremacists reclaiming power after Reconstruction, the old flag incorporated the Confederate battle emblem – a red background with a blue X lined with 13 white stars.
Since the civil rights movement, activists have been calling for its removal, arguing it's an outdated banner in a state that has a 38% African American population.
But state elected officials had not been willing to go against the nearly 65% of voters who approved keeping the flag in a 2001 referendum.
It finally fell this week amid the outcry for racial justice happening across the U.S., much like Confederate monuments that have come down elsewhere around the South.
"People who wanted to keep the flag couldn't ignore what it meant anymore," says Democratic state Rep. Robert Johnson, the minority leader in the Mississippi House.
He says it makes no sense that it took this long, but he feels a sense of relief.
"You can't live ...
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