MS vote expected to remove Confederate symbol from state flag

MS vote expected to remove Confederate symbol from state flag”

If the bill passes, a commission will design a new flag, to be be voted on in November.

On Saturday, the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Senate voted by a two-thirds majority to clear the path for a vote on a measure that would remove the current flag and replace it with a new design free of Confederate iconography.

"This is an opportunity for us to find a flag that's unifying for all Mississippians, and that's what we're going to do", House Speaker, Philip Gunn, a Republican, told cheering legislators, the Clarion Ledger newspaper reported. He previously said he would not veto one - a more passive stance.

The push to change the flag has grown dramatically in the past week. Debate around removal of confederate flags have come to light after NASCAR announced it would ban them from their race tracks following the proposal on CNN from Bubba Wallace, the league's only Black racer.

"I love this flag", states David Flynt of Hattiesburg, while standing outside the state Capitol with other current MS flag supporters in Jackson.

"I would guess a lot of you don't even see that flag in the corner right there", noted MS state Representative Ed Blackmon, who is Black, on Saturday.

Many people who wanted to keep the emblem on the MS flag said they see it as a symbol of heritage. (D), who is black, said that he had overcome the feelings he had seeing the flag growing up but that it represents a painful history.

White supremacists in the Mississippi Legislature set the state flag design in 1894 during backlash to the political power that African Americans gained after the Civil War. Almost four dozen of Mississippi's university athletic directors and coaches came to the Capitol to lobby for change. Should voters reject that design in November, the commission would present a new option during the 2021 legislative session, according to the resolution.

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The Mississippi Supreme Court found in 2000 that when the state updated its laws in 1906, portions dealing with the flag were not included.

Holland, who is white, said he voted in the 2001 election to keep the flag but he now sees the rebel symbol as harmful.

"As a younger Mississippian, a millennial, it represents darker days where our state government and various others used it as a symbol of supremacy", explained one resident.

That change took place with Sunday's passage of the bill, which Gov. Tate Reeves has vowed to sign.

Winter said yesterday that removing the Confederate symbol from the banner is "long overdue".

"This is a historic day for Mississippi".

"By changing our flag, we don't abandon our founding principles", he said. "Let's vote today for the MS of tomorrow".

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