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Mississippi governor signs measure retiring state flag

Mississippi governor signs measure retiring state flag
© Getty

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Tuesday signed a bill immediately retiring the current flag of the state that includes the flag of the Confederacy sewn into it.

“This is not a political moment to me but a solemn occasion to lead our Mississippi family to come together and move on,” Reeves said at a the signing ceremony. “A flag is a symbol of our past, our present and our future. For those reasons, we need a new symbol.”

Sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody at the end of May, protesters nationwide have been calling for an end to public displays of the Confederacy and have even taken action to remove its symbols.

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Throughout the country, demonstrators have toppled Confederate statues and monuments as many Americans demand the rooting out of systemic racism.

As a result, Mississippi — the only state in the country that has the Confederate logo on its flag — has received heavy pressure to change its flag.

The state's flag has borne the Confederate symbol since 1894, even though nearly 40 percent of its population is Black. Throughout the years, the flag has been used by the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups because of its Confederate roots.

In 2001, the layout of the flag was put to a statewide vote, but Mississippians voted to keep the flag as is.

The new flag will not have the Confederate symbol, but must have the phrase "In God We Trust," and a commission will design the new flag to be put up for a vote in November.