Lawmakers in Mississippi responded to increased pressure over the state’s distasteful flag—which boasts the battle emblem of the treasonous, slavery loving Confederacy—by passing a measure this weekend that makes it possible for the flag to be changed legislatively.
On Saturday, two-thirds of the Mississippi House voted for a resolution to allow lawmakers to consider a bill that would remove and change the state’s flag, reported the Washington Post.
Later that day, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said that he will sign a bill to change the flag if it is sent to him.
“The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it. If they send me a bill this weekend, I will sign it,” he said in a statement on Twitter.
It’s a reversal from his position earlier in the week that “a vote of the people the flag represents,” is the best way to address the fact that his state proudly identifies itself with a symbol of the belief that Black people are inferior to white people.
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“There’s an effort underway across the country to erase our nation’s history—to pretend that all of us are so much better than our ancestors that we must eliminate their memory,” Reeves added in a Facebook post on Wednesday, explaining his reluctance to support the legislative effort.
The measure passed by lawmakers on Saturday opens the door for a bill that would create a new flag—one that doesn’t celebrate a history of bigotry and failure—which would then go Mississippians for a vote:
From the Washington Post:
It calls for the immediate removal of the existing flag and the creation of a commission to design a new one. The legislation stipulates that the words “In God We Trust” be included in the new flag and that it not include the Confederate battle flag.
The new version would go before voters for approval in November. If voters rejected the proposed flag, the commission would create a new one meeting the same requirements.
In 2001, Mississippians voted by a landslide to keep the state’s Confederate flag, which was adopted decades after the civil war.
The watershed year that is 2020 seems to be setting the stage for a different outcome—particularly since the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced earlier this month that it will no longer host championship events in states where the confederate flag is flown (aka Mississippi).
The Mississippi Economic Council and the Mississippi Historical Society have also recently come out in support of changing the state’s flag.