The flag, which prominently features the Confederate emblem, will be retired.
On Sunday, Mississippi’s state legislature took a vote on whether or not the state flag, the very last in the country that features the emblem of the Confederacy, will be replaced. With a 91-23 vote in the House and 37-14 in the Senate, the bill passed, and assuming Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves upholds his word to sign it into law, the flag will be replaced with a currently undecided design. New designs will be drafted up, and Mississippi citizens will vote on the new one during the November elections, though the current design will not be an option.
The Mississippi flag is the latest in numerous Confederate symbols to face increased scrutiny in the wake of the ongoing racial discrimination protests. “I would guess a lot of you don’t even see that flag in the corner right there,” said Mississippi state Representative Ed Blackmon, who is black, during a Q&A session on Saturday. “There are some of us who notice it every time we walk in here, and it’s not a good feeling.”
Despite previous efforts to change the flag, the majority of Mississippi residents have been in favor of keeping it, saying that the design harks back to soldiers who fought for the state during the Civil War. However, various influential businesses and organizations have recently spoken out against the flag, with standouts including the Southeastern Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. As a result of these organizations’ support, recent polls showed a 55% majority of Mississippi citizens in favor of changing the flag.
Citizens of Mississippi and other southern states have repeatedly stated that the Confederate flag is intended to be a reminder of state history, but activists have countered that the design has been co-opted as a symbol of racism. “My ancestors were beaten and traumatized, and it was under that flag,” said political activist Jarrius Adams, 22. “There are a lot of moments when I’m not proud to be from Mississippi, but this is definitely a moment that I’m extremely proud to be from Mississippi.”