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Arkansas state House votes to end 'Confederate Flag Day'

Arkansas state House votes to end 'Confederate Flag Day'
© istock

Legislators in Arkansas on Thursday approved legislation that would replace "Confederate Flag Day," a state holiday meant to commemorate the flag of the Confederacy, with a day honoring the state of Arkansas and its history.

The Associated Press reported that the bill replacing the holiday with "Arkansas Day" passed with broad bipartisan support in a 80-7 vote in the state House. It now heads to the state Senate, where it is expected to receive similar support.

Sponsored by the Arkansas House Majority Leader, state Rep. Austin McCollum (R), the bill would rename the holiday designated to occur annually on the Saturday before Easter and encourage Arkansas residents to reflect on the state's "rich history, national treasures, diverse cultures, unmatched hospitality, shared spirit, and human resilience."

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Confederate Flag Day was established in the state in response to the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957, a nationally-watched event that led to the state's governor at the time attempting to prevent Black students from entering the school.

The first Black students who went on to integrate the school became known as the "Little Rock Nine."

In 2019, lawmakers including the state's governor, Asa HutchinsonAsa HutchinsonRepublican governor of Arkansas says 'Trump is dividing our party' Genetic material from 1993 killing revealed years after another man executed for crime, groups say Arkansas governor allows bill targeting critical race theory in state agencies to become law MORE (R), threw their support behind a bill that would change the symbolic meaning of one of the stars on the state's flag which currently represents the Confederacy to instead honor Native Americans and their contributions to the state; that proposal was never passed.