(FamilyRetirementClub.com)- Mississippi has decided to make a change.
On Sunday, the state legislature voted to replace the state flag, which was the last one in the nation to display the battle emblem of the Confederacy. In the state House, the bill passed 91-23, while in the Senate, it passed 37-14.
The bill will now be in the hands of Governor Tate Reeves, who said this weekend that he’d sign the bill into law.
As part of the bill, residents of the state will vote on a new design for the replacement flag this November, and the current design can’t be an option.
Many in the state legislature applauded the votes, especially state Representative Ed Blackmom, who is black. During public comment on the bill on Saturday, he said:
“I would guess a lot of you don’t even see that flag in the corner right there. There are some of us who notice it ever time we walk in here, and it’s not a good feeling.”
Until recently, most people in Mississippi were against removing the Confederate symbol from the state flag. Back in 2001, voters decided by a 2-1 ratio that the flag shouldn’t be changed, citing the nod to their ancestors who fought for the state in the Civil War.
Other residents, though, said the flag was a symbol of how brutally their ancestors were treated. Jarrius Adams, a political activist who advocated for the flag to change, said following the vote:
“My ancestors were beaten and traumatized, and it was under that flag. 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.”
The recent climate in the nation following the death of George Floyd and others at the hands of police officers started to change public opinion, though. In Mississippi, many leaders of religious, business and sports institutions condemned the flag.
The head football coaches of both Mississippi State University and Ole Miss said the flag should be changed, and the NCAA said it wouldn’t hold future championship events in the state until the flag was changed.
According to a poll from the state chamber of commerce conducted last week, 55% of people in Mississippi said they wanted the state flag to be changed.
Many cities throughout the state and all of the state’s universities stopped flying the state flag following the 2015 shooting at a church in South Carolina. There, a white supremacist attacked black parishioners.
Even after that event, though, and the actions by many institutions in Mississippi, the state flag still flew with the Confederate emblem in front of many of the public buildings in the state, including at the governor’s mansion and at the state capitol building.
The resistance to change was due to the state’s history, many argued. People on the other side of the fence, though, said it was no longer being used as a historical symbol but rather one that promoted white supremacy.