Mississippi governor signs bill removing Confederate emblem from flag

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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill that removes the Confederate battle flag emblem from the state flag.

The Republican governor signed the bill Tuesday evening, which changes the flag for the first time in more than a century and removes the last such Confederate battle flag to appear on any state flag in the country.

“This is not a political moment to me but a solemn occasion to lead our Mississippi family to come together and move on,” Reeves said at the signing ceremony. “A flag is a symbol of our past, our present, and our future. For those reasons, we need a new symbol.”

The signing comes a mere two days after the Mississippi Legislature made the historic decision to do away with the Confederate iconography. The legislation passed the Mississippi House 91-23 and passed the state’s Senate with a 37-14 vote.

It is unclear what the exact new design for the flag will be, although the legislation stipulates that the new design must not include any vestige of the symbol and must include the phrase “In God We Trust.”

First adopted in 1894, the flag has met opposition in the past for the symbol, although voters in the state rejected scrapping the flag during a 2001 referendum by a 64% margin.

Tuesday’s historic signing comes after weeks of protests and civil unrest calling attention to police brutality and systemic racism. Demonstrations across the country began after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was filmed being pinned to the ground by a white police officer as he pleaded for air and later died in police custody.

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