Mississippi governor signs bill removing Confederate symbol from flag

01 Jul 2020 / 13:00 H.

WASHINGTON: The governor of the southern US state of Mississippi signed a bill Tuesday removing the Confederate battle standard from the state flag, after nationwide protests drew renewed attention to symbols of the United States’ racist past.

“This is not a political moment, it is a solemn occasion to come together as a Mississippi family, reconcile, and move forward together,“ Governor Tate Reeves wrote on Facebook.

Mississippi is the only American state to incorporate the Confederate standard on its official flag, after nearby Georgia dropped it in 2003.

Tate said a commission on the flag would “begin the process of selecting a new one -- emblazoned with the words ‘In God We Trust.’”

The swift signing comes after state lawmakers voted Sunday to remove the emblem in a 91-23 majority vote in the House of Representatives and a 37-14 vote in the Senate.

Mississippians, nearly 40 percent of whom are African American, will vote on the design in November. If they reject the new design, Mississippi will go without a state flag until a new design is approved.

“We can move on, and with God’s help, we will,“ Tate said at the Tuesday signing.

Tate had previously stated he would sign the bill into law, following weeks of mounting pressure.

Racial injustice has been the subject of a renewed and fiery national conversation in the United States since the death in May of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, at the hands of a white police officer. - AFP

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