Mississippi’s state legislature votes on bill to remove federal symbol from state flag in historic vote

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Mississippi's state legislature votes on bill to remove federal symbol from state flag in historic vote

The bill will now be passed to Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, a Republican who said he would do so. signed it in the law.

The legislation – which cleared the State House by a vote of 91-23 and the State Senate by a vote of 37-14 – comes as Mississippi lawmakers weigh a change in their flag for weeks amid ongoing racial justice protests across the country. The flag, first adopted in 1894, has red, white and blue stripes with the Confederate emblem in the corner.

The bill establishes a committee to develop a new flag design without the Confederate emblem that includes the phrase “In God, We Trust”. Voters in the Mississippi state will then vote on the new plan this November.

State spokesman Jeramey Anderson, a Democrat from Moss Point, hailed his passage on Sunday as a “historic moment”.

“I thank those who came before us, who with courage and determination cultivated the Movement for Political Rights that helped us bring us to this day,” tweeted. “What a beautiful moment of unity.”
This message was repeated by the representative of the Democratic State Zakiya Summers, who tweeted, “I’m just passing the deer of the state flag at the entrance of the house!”

And NAACP President Derrick Johnson told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Sunday afternoon, “It’s been a long time coming.”

“Finally, Mississippi has decided to be one of the 50 states and not the one state that stands alone to carry the emblem of a divided society,” he said.

Sunday’s vote came after the House and the Mississippi Senate passed a resolution on Saturday to begin the process of changing the flag.

Following the vote, Jefferson Davis’ grandson, Bertram Hayes-Davis, agreed to the possible change of the Mississippi flag, saying the “battle flag has been violated” and “does not represent the entire Mississippi population”. .

“It’s historic and it’s related to heritage, there are a lot of people who see it that way, and God bless them for that heritage. Put it in a museum and honor it there or put it in your house, but its flag “Half of the population needs to be represented, and I’m excited to finally make that change,” Hayes-Davis told CNN’s Ana Cabrera on Saturday.

The Confederate flag, symbols and statues celebrating the Confederate leaders have long divided the country. Critics call the flag a symbol of war to support slavery, while supporters call it a sign of southern pride and heritage.

Symbols have become increasingly popular for white defenders.

In recent weeks, the death of George Floyd has led to the removal – by some protesters in some cases and by city leaders in others – of controversial statues and symbols of the Confederacy that have upset some residents for decades, if not more.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on May 25 in Minneapolis. At the time of his arrest, Floyd was being held by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer for more than eight minutes.

He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. His death, recorded on video, has sparked widespread protests across the United States, with people calling for an end to police violence against people of color.

This story has been met with an additional reaction from Mississippi lawmakers and the NAACP president.

CNN’s Kay Jones, Allison Gordon, James Froio and Kelly Mena contributed to the report.

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