Mississippi will remove the Confederate symbol from its state flag after 126 years, which comes as many states and organizations, including NASCAR, remove the usage of the Confederate imagery in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing.
The state legislature’s Sunday vote, passed by a vote of 91-23 in the House and 37-14 in the Senate, with Black and white lawmakers celebrating with elbow bumps, a gesture in accordance with new coronavirus safety recommendations. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is expected to sign the bill in the next few days.
“There are some of us who notice it every time we walk in here, and it’s not a good feeling,” said Mississippi state Representative Ed Blackmon, who is Black.
Prior to the historic decision, Mississippi was the last state in the country to display the divisive symbol. But the state has a 38% Black population, and the Confederate symbol in the state flag has been much criticized locally for decades.
Mississippi residents will vote on a new flag in November’s election. The new flag must have the words, “In God We Trust,” and cannot include the Confederate symbol.