Mississippi governor signs bill removing 126-year-old state flag with Confederate battle emblem

Updated: Jun. 30, 2020 at 5:47 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - History in Mississippi. Governor Tate Reeves signed the flag removal bill into law on Tuesday (June 30). The state flag, with its much-criticized Confederate symbol, will be taken down statewide within 15 days. And Mississippi’s new flag will likely bring controversy as well.

Mississippi’s state flag was the last in the U.S. with the Confederate battle emblem on it. Earlier attempts to change the flag failed over the years, but 2020 has been no ordinary year. Between Black Lives Matter protests, a threat from the NCAA to pull sporting events out of Mississippi, a trip to capitol hill in Jackson by college coaches plus pressure from business and religious leaders, lawmakers were finally persuaded to take action.

The House and Senate passed the flag removal bill over the weekend during a special session. And on Tuesday, Governor Reeves signed it into law. He said Mississippians need to come together now and support the new flag.

“What better way to do that than include ‘In God We Trust’ on our new state banner,” he told Mississippians during the bill signing ceremony. “As Lt. Governor, I fought to put those words on our state seal. We were attacked, threatened and ultimately, we were sued. I know the same forces will come after us again and I know this is a stronger line to hold.”

The bill passed by the legislature specifically calls for “In God We Trust” to appear on the state’s new banner. Reeves will appoint a committee to come up with a new design. Mississippians will vote on it in November.

If the design passes, the new flag will fly in January, unless someone sues because it contains the words “In God We Trust.” Mississippi’s specialty license plate and America’s currency both faced court challenges for that very reason.

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