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In a historic move, the Mississippi state legislature has voted to remove the Confederate symbol from its state flag.
The state was the last in the nation to display the Confederate battle emblem and comes as months of weeks of nationwide protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd and social injustice.
Republican Governor Tate Reeves said ahead of the vote that he would sign the legislation into law if approved by lawmakers.
The bill passed by a vote of 91-23 in the House and 37-14 in the Senate.
The Confederate emblem is viewed by many as a racist symbol, with many organizations opting to remove public displays of the flag. The new legislation calls for the removal of the current flag within 15 days at government buildings. It also calls for a new flag to be designed in which all Confederate symbols will be removed — the words “In God We Trust” must be used.
“The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it,” he wrote on Twitter. “We should not be under any illusion that a vote in the Capitol is the end of what must be done – the job before us is to bring the state together.”
N.A.A.C.P. Nsombi Lambright-Haines volunteer expressed her delight after the passing of the bill. “This was a long time coming,” Lambright-Haines said per the New York Times.
“I’m glad to see this happen in my lifetime, in my son’s lifetime — in my grandmother’s lifetime,” added Lambright-Haines, who has been involved in efforts to take down the flag for two decades.