The last remnant of the Confederacy on the flag of a southern state is now gone.
On Sunday, the Mississippi House and Senate voted in an overwhelming majority to remove the Confederate logo from its state flag, the last state in the nation to do so, Politico reports.
For several years now, Confederate monuments and symbols have been targeted for removal from public view in this country, yet somehow the Mississippi state flag remained untouched.
The debate over its propriety, however, gained new traction in the wake of recent racial justice protests, and the state is about to get a new flag.
The proposal to eliminate the vestiges of the Confederacy from the state flag saw very little resistance in the Mississippi legislature, passing in the House with a vote of 91-23 and in the Senate by a vote of 37-14.
Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, has already stated that he would sign the bill if passed, although he has yet to officially put his signature on the bill, and while a new design has yet to be unveiled, voters will have the final right of approval once it is introduced.
“How sweet it is”
The latest push for a new state flag has been led by Mississippi’s Republican House Speaker, Philip Gunn, and while he has been fighting this battle for more than five years, there had never previously been enough support to remove the Confederate emblem once and for all.
Now that the change is imminent, Gunn stated, “How sweet it is to celebrate this on the Lord’s day. Many prayed to Him to bring us to this day. He has answered.”
This is not only a victory for Gunn but will also be considered a significant victory for the black community in the state of Mississippi, which is is roughly three times the national average.
The flag’s symbolism has long been a hot potato in the sports world, with the NCAA refusing to host championship events in states with flags that gave “prominent presence” to Confederate imagery, as CBS Sports reported.
Mike Leach, coach of the Mississippi State football team, stated, “We need something that fulfills the purpose of being a state flag and that everybody in the state has a reason to be proud of.”
Now, many of the state’s residents will get their wish, and by year’s end, Mississippi will be flying new colors.