Updated as of 4/27/2022 at 9:30 a.m. ET
Protests ensued in Mississippi calling for the end to Confederate Memorial Day, per The Associated Press. Previously, Gov. Tate Reeves proclaimed April as Confederate Heritage Month. Yet, he signed a law two years ago retiring the last state flag in the US that had a Confederate battle emblem. Demonstrators say the state should quit commemorating the Confederacy.
The last Monday of April in Mississippi is recognized as Confederate Memorial Day. Members of grassroots organization Invisible Northeast Mississippi protested the holiday at a Confederate monument outside the Lee County Courthouse in Tulepo.
More from the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal:
Daniel Jenkins of Tupelo said he was protesting Monday because, as a Black man, he doesn’t subscribe to the Confederate observances. Jenkins sees them as enduring signs of systemic racism, and urged others to join the fight against them.
“You have to ask yourself: ‘OK, what heritage is that?’ That heritage is one of white supremacy, the right to enslave human beings for economic gain,” said Mary Jane Meadows of Indivisible NEMS.
Per AP News, Reeves’ Confederate Heritage Month proclamation says the month will honor those who died in the war and that it is “important for all Americans to reflect on our nation’s past.” However, there was no mention of slavery. You know, the very reason why Mississippi tried to secede from the US.
“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world,” per Mississippi’s secession ordinance.
More on the proclamation from AP News:
Reeves’s office did not announce his signing of the latest Confederate Heritage Month proclamation. The Mississippi Free Press was the first to report that a Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter on Monday had a social media post showing it. Reeves has issued a similar proclamation each year since becoming governor in January 2020.
In response to a question at a news conference Wednesday, Reeves said he issued a Confederate Heritage Month proclamation “in the same manner and fashion that the five governors that came before me, Republicans and Democrats alike, for over 30 years have done.”
Not everyone was on board with the decision. Former governor Ray Mabus didn’t agree with Reeves signing the proclamation nor did they issue a Confederate Heritage Month proclamation during his time in office from 1988 to 1992.
“His ‘Confederate Heritage Month’ proclamation sounds like he’s endorsing critical race theory: learn from the past etc. Heritage of Confederacy is treason and slavery. We should learn from those things just maybe not in the way he imagines,” Mabus said via Twitter.
Mississippi already has a Confederate Heritage Day which is a state holiday for employees. Several steps have been taken to separate the state from Confederate symbols, reported AP News. Like some other southern states, they removed monuments that commemorated racist historical figures plus the Confederate state flag was retired with bipartisan support.
However, there is still much more work to be done to truly address the impact the confederacy had on Mississippi’s Black residents.