Story at a glance
- The Mississippi Free Press found that Gov. Tate Reeves (R) declared April 2021 Confederate Heritage Month.
- Reeves signed an order to change the state flag, which held a Confederate emblem, in 2020.
Mississippi dropped its state flag in 2020, which contained a Confederate emblem, in an attempt to shed the state’s pro-slavery legacy, and instead proposed a blue and red magnolia flag to represent the Magnolia State. However, the Mississippi Free Press charged Monday that Gov. Tate Reeves (R) declared April as Confederate Heritage Month outside of public view.
Mississippi Free Press cites a document purported to have been signed by Reeves on April 7, 2021, that appears on the Facebook page for Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Camp 265 Rankin Rough & Ready’s. The linked document reads, “Now, therefore, I Tate Reeves, Governor of the State of Mississippi, proclaim the month of April 2021 as Confederate Heritage Month in the State of Mississippi,” followed by Reeves’s signature. Reeves is from Rankin County.
Reeves signed an order to change the state flag following the death of George Floyd. Floyd was killed as officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for close to nine minutes during an arrest, even though Floyd yelled that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin is on trial for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s killing.
When Reeves signed the order changing the flag, he stated, “Now, I can admit that as a 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 than the outrage we see on cable TV in other places. It sounds like Mississippians, our friends and our neighbors, asking to be understood.”
However, he went on to defend such symbols, adding, “It is fashionable in some quarters to say our ancestors were all evil. I reject that notion. I also reject the elitist worldview that these United States are anything but the greatest nation in the history of mankind. I reject the mobs tearing down statues of our history — north and south, Union and Confederate, founding fathers and veterans. I reject the chaos and lawlessness, and I am proud it has not happened in our state.”
Nearly 100 Confederate monuments were removed in 2020.
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