JACKSON, Miss. — Just just a few weeks in the past, as Mississippi lawmakers mobilized to take down the one state flag within the nation with the Confederate battle emblem embedded into it, Gov. Tate Reeves mentioned the selection was not theirs to make.
“It should be the people who make that decision,” Mr. Reeves informed reporters then, “not some backroom deal by a bunch of politicians in Jackson.”
But on Tuesday, Mr. Reeves signed into legislation a measure that removes the flag that has flown over the state for 126 years and been on the coronary heart of a battle Mississippi has grappled with for generations: how to view a legacy that traces to the Civil War.
The laws mandates the “prompt, dignified and respectful” elimination of the flag, which options the blue bars and white stars of the Confederate battle flag, inside 15 days.
Mr. Reeves, a Republican, acknowledged his personal evolution from believing the flag ought to be modified solely by a statewide referendum to permitting lawmakers to make the choice.
He mentioned that Mississippi has been buffeted in current months by flooding, tornadoes and an eruption of violence and discord in state prisons earlier than the outbreak of the coronavirus and the financial devastation it has unleashed. He mentioned that dividing the state, and stirring up an internecine political struggle, would solely harm it much more.
“There are people on either side of the flag debate who may never understand the other,” Mr. Reeves mentioned in a speech on Tuesday delivered from the governor’s mansion in Jackson. “We as a family must show empathy. We must understand that all who want change are not attempting to erase history. And all who want the status quo are not meanspirited or hateful.”
Mr. Reeves had beforehand mentioned he would signal the measure that state legislators permitted over the weekend, in one other instance of Confederate symbols being re-examined following protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
When the state flag was final on the poll, in 2001, Mississippi voters overwhelmingly determined to hold it. But over the weekend, the House voted, 91-23, in favor of eradicating the flag, and the Senate affirmed that call in a 37-14 vote.
A fee can be charged with introducing a brand new flag design by September that might be included on the November poll. The new flag can be forbidden from together with the Confederate battle emblem and should embody the phrase “In God we trust.”