By Kevin Billings |www.ibtimes.com |
- The Mississippi Legislature voted to remove the state flag and put together a commission to design new flags, letting voters decide on a design in November
- Mississippi’s state flag was the last one to use the Confederate battle flag and has flown over the state since 1894
- The flag was removed amid mounting pressure from the state’s Black population, the Southeastern Conference, and the Black Lives Matter protests following George Floyd’s death
Following the trend of removing Confederate imagery, the Mississippi Legislature voted to redesign the state’s flag. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the state House, 91-23, followed by the state Senate, 37-14, Sunday, and Gov. Tate Reeves said he would sign it when it reached his office. A commission will be formed after the signing for design options that voters will vote on during the November elections.
The new flag will incorporate the phrase “In God We Trust” and is expected to be presented to the Legislature at the beginning of 2021.
“There are economic issues. There are issues involving football or whatever,” Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann told reporters Saturday. “But this vote came from the heart. That makes it so much more important.”
Sunday’s vote followed weeks of growing pressure sparked by the Black Lives Matter protests to change the flag because of its direct tie to the Confederacy. U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2019 put the state’s Black population at 37.8%.
Arguably the greatest pressure came from the Southeastern Conference, or SEC, which threatened not to hold any college sports championship events in Mississippi until the flag was changed.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey made his intentions clear in a statement released on June 18.