Mississippi Changes Flag - ESPN 98.1 FM


Both houses of the legislature voted this weekend to remove the symbol and appoint a panel to design a new flag, according to media reports.

MS will retire the last state flag in the USA with the Confederate battle emblem, more than a century after White supremacist legislators adopted the design a generation after the South lost the Civil War.

Now, the bill is off to Republican Governor Tate Reeves, who has expressed that he will sign it.

Democratic state Sen. Derrick Simmons voted for the bill, which calls for a nine-member commission to design a new flag that includes the phrase "In God We Trust".

Pressure from the football world was most notable from Kylin Hill, Mississippi State's star running back, who said he wouldn't play in his home state again if the flag didn't change.

"It was a very hateful oppressive and divisive symbol", he tells Morning Edition.

In a sports-crazy culture, the biggest blow might have happened when college sports leagues said MS could lose postseason events if it continued flying the Confederate-themed flag. "For the people who hold the palm of MS in their hands, for their wisdom and their strength, for them to vote the way they did is all but unbelievable to me, but I am ever so thankful for that vote". The protestors condemned the symbols of Confederacy and the statues commemorating Confederate leaders as symbols of the racist history of the U.S. Some protestors destroyed the monuments of Confederate leaders, slaveowners and imperialists across the country.

The governor's communications director, Renae Eze, tells NPR that Reeves plans to sign the bill in the coming days. Some spectators wept. Legislators embraced one another, many hugging colleagues who were on the opposing side of an issue that has long divided the tradition-bound state.

Here are excerpts of the Morning Edition conversation with Simmons. And it was a symbol of division and not unity.

By Thursday, June 25, polls were showing that 55% of Mississipians wanted to see the flag change.

"I would guess a lot of you don't even see that flag in the corner right there".

The flag was in the schools that I was educated in.

But after a few influential businesses and sports centers, including NASCAR and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) condemned the flag, people began changing their minds. The flag was actually flying in public spaces. But until now, efforts to redesign the flag sputtered in the Republican-dominated Legislature. In Mississippi, of course, while the flag was just a symbol, the symbol is still like a symptom of the overall racial inequality that exists specifically in Mississippi. If a majority voting that day accept the new design, it will become the state flag.



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