MS governor signs house bill changing state’s flag, abandoning Confederate symbol

MS governor signs house bill changing state’s flag, abandoning Confederate symbol
A Mississippi state flag waves adjacent to a flag change supporter's sign that welcomes the state to "the right side of history," outside the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Sunday, June 28, 2020, while lawmakers are expected to consider state flag change legislation. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has already said he would sign whatever flag bill the Legislature decides on. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Rogelio V. Solis) (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. — Tonight, Governor Tate Reeves will hold a ceremony to sign House Bill 1796.

HB 1796 removes the current Mississippi state flag and creates a group to design a new one that will be voted on in November.

“Ultimately, today is not a day that erases history but a day that faces it and writes its next chapter,” Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Lucien Smith said. “It is a day to find joy in unity and goodwill and to reflect on how far our state has come and where we, as Mississippians together, wish it to go. 

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Gov. Reeves addressed the state Tuesday afternoon.

Reeves said:

A flag is a symbol of our present, of our people, and of our future.  

For those reasons, we need a new symbol. Now I can admit that as young boy growing up in Florence, I couldn’t have understood the pain that some of our neighbors felt when they looked at our flag—a pain that made many feel unwelcome and unwanted.  

Today, I hear their hurt.  It sounds different that the outrage we see on cable TV in other places. It sounds like Mississippians, our friends and our neighbors, asking to be understood.   I’ve long believed the better path towards reconciliation for our state would be for the people to retire this symbol on their own at the ballot box.  

You can read his full statement on the state’s website.

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