MS to Change State Flag After Legislature Passes Bill

Mississippi gov would sign bill to remove Confederate symbol from state flag

The 91-23 vote comes as MS lawmakers in recent weeks have been weighing a change to their flag amid the continued racial justice protests across the country.

Reeves also wrote that any vote regarding the flag would not be the end of their work, that their real job was "to bring the state together", a task he described as "harder than recovering from tornadoes, harder than historic floods, harder than agency corruption, or prison riots or the coming hurricane season-even harder than battling the Coronavirus".

Democratic Sen. David Jordan told his colleagues just before the vote that MS needs a flag that unifies rather than divides. David Jordan, D-Greenwood. "Let's show the other 49 states that we're undergoing a metamorphosis".

The House passed the bill 91-23 yesterday afternoon.

Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill, a native of the state, tweeted he'd no longer represent the state without a change. "They began to understand and feel the same thing I've been feeling for 61 years of my life".

If the governor approves of the flag change, a commission would design a new MS state flag that will not include the Confederate battle emblem, but will include the phrase "In God We Trust".

Lopsided votes in both houses of the state's legislature Saturday, following weeks of mounting pressure and hours of impassioned debate, ensured that a proposal to immediately take down the old flag and find a replacement should easily pass Sunday when votes will require only a simple majority. If voters reject the design, the commission will offer another redesigned flag during the 2021 legislative session.

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Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn, who is white, has pushed for five years to change the flag, saying the Confederate symbol is offensive.

"How sweet it is to celebrate this on the Lord's day", Gunn said.

The flag was adopted in 1894, and it has red, white, and blue stripes with the Confederate symbol at the top left.

"So put it in a museum and honor it there or put it in your house, but the flag of MS should represent the entire population, and I am thrilled that we're finally going to make that change", Hayes-Davis told CNN. A final flag design will be presented by the governor and legislators no later than September 14.

That dynamic shifted as an extraordinary and diverse coalition of political, business, religious groups and sports leaders pushed for change.

Religious groups - including the large and influential Mississippi Baptist Convention - said erasing the rebel emblem from the state flag is a moral imperative.

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.

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