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Mississippi votes to retire state flag with Confederate imagery

State legislature voted to change the flag, which has been heavily criticized in recent weeks.

Mississippi state flag CNN

On Sunday (June 28), Mississippi state legislature passed a bill to remove the Confederate imagery from their state flag. The bill will need to be approved by Gov. Tate Reeves, who said he would sign it into law.

Prior to the vote, Mississippi was the last remaining state to host the Confederate emblem on their flag. According to CNN, the bill establishes a commission to design a new flag without Confederate imagery, which will reportedly include the phrase “In God, We Trust.” Mississippi voters will decide on the flag’s new design in a vote this November.

Sunday’s vote follows several weeks of residents and activists calling for the flag to be changed amidst the current political climate. Last week, Walmart stores in Mississippi announced they would no longer display the state flag, due to its Confederate imagery.

“We know the design of the Mississippi state flag is being discussed by various stakeholders,” the corporation said in a statement to CNN Business. “While the issue continues to be discussed, we’ve made the decision to remove the Mississippi state flag from display in its current form from our stores.”

Statues and other symbols that promote images of slavery or racism have also been rapidly removed nationwide — either by protesters or city governments — in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

“This is a long time coming,” NAACP president Derrick Johnson told CNN after the bill passed. “Finally, Mississippi decided to be one of the 50 states, and not the one state standing alone still bearing the emblem of a segregated society.”

On Twitter, State Rep. Jeramey Anderson called the vote a “historic moment.”

“I thank those who came before us, who with courage and resolve nurtured the Civil Rights Movement that helped bring us to this day,” he tweeted. ”What a beautiful moment of unity.”

Earlier this month, the state of Rhode Island also voted to change its official name on government documents to remove the phrase “Providence Plantations.”

“We can’t ignore the image conjured by the word ‘plantation.’ We can’t ignore how painful that is for Black Rhode Islanders to see that and have to see that as part of their state’s name,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said of the decision.

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