Mississippi Governor Signs Bill to Remove Confederate Battle Emblem from State Flag

While a final design for the new Mississippi flag has not yet been revealed, Reeves said that it will feature the words "In God We Trust"

Tate Reeves
Photo: ROGELIO V. SOLIS/Getty Images

After more than a century, Mississippi's state flag will no longer feature the Confederate battle emblem.

Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill on Tuesday that removes the racist symbol from the state's flag, which has been in place for 126 years, since 1894.

While a final design for the new Mississippi flag has not yet been revealed, Reeves said that it will feature the words "In God We Trust."

The new design will be voted upon in November, and if rejected, another special election will be held with another design.

"Tonight, I signed the bill to retire the 1894 Mississippi flag and begin the process of selecting a new one — emblazoned with the words 'In God We Trust,'" the Republican governor said in a tweet Tuesday.

"Now, more than ever, we must lean on our faith, put our divisions behind us, and unite for a greater good," he added.

"This was a hard conversation for Mississippi, but family conversations can often be hard," Reeves said in his statement before signing the bill.

"I know there are people of goodwill who are not happy to see this flag changed. They fear a chain reaction of events erasing our history, a history that is no doubt complicated and imperfect," he went on to say. "I understand those concerns and am determined to protect Mississippi from that dangerous outcome."

Reeves said that the decision to change the flag "is not a political moment to me, but a solemn occasion to lead our Mississippi family to come together, to be reconciled and to move on."

It is not the first time that the discussion to remove the Confederate emblem from the flag has been had — Mississippians voted to keep the symbol in 2001, The Washington Post reported at the time.

In recent weeks, there has been a public outcry for the flag to finally change.

Faith Hill tweeted her support of removing the Confederate emblem last week, saying "it is time for the world to meet the Mississippi of today and not the Mississippi of 1894."

"I understand many view the current flag as a symbol of heritage and Southern pride, but we have to realize that this flag is a direct symbol of terror for our black brothers and sisters," the singer, 52, added in another tweet.

Earlier this month, the NCAA prohibited championship events to take place in states that fly the Confederate flag, ESPN reported — a policy change that only effected Mississippi, which is the last of the 50 states to abandon the antiquated symbol.

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