A bipartisan push by state legislators to remove the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag was approved by the Republican Speaker of the House Philip Gunn in a closed door meeting Thursday, according to CNN.
What We Know:
- All 45 Democratic members of the Mississippi House are poised to support the resolution, though bipartisan support is critical for the effort to reach the needed two-thirds majority.
- “Everybody is on board with getting rid of the messages of segregation, and the old South, and the Civil War, except Mississippi,” said Democratic Rep. Robert Johnson.
- This is not the first effort to remove the Confederate symbol from Mississippi’s flag. In 2001, 65% of Mississippians voted to keep the emblem in tact as opposed to switching to a flag with 20 white stars on a blue field to represent Mississippi’s status as the 20th state.
- Rep. Johnson believes social pressures have forced Republican lawmakers to reevaluate their stance on the issue. He stated, “I think they began to be embarrassed by it. It’s affecting our economy. I think people are reticent about doing business with a state that continues to fly that flag.”
- Republican Governor Tate Reeves said he would not support the legislators decision to alter the flag and believes it should instead be left to the people of Mississippi. “…it should be done by a vote of the people, not by a vote of politicians doing a backroom deal,” Gov. Reeves noted.
- The move comes as states and cities around the country are making similar efforts to remove the Confederacy’s stain on the south through the removal of statues of Confederate leaders and the banning of the flag, a policy NASCAR implemented Wednesday.
President Donald Trump has been adamant about keeping Confederate statues and refusing efforts to remove Confederate commander’s names from U.S. military bases.