The last state in the country to still feature the symbol of the old Confederacy on its official flag may soon be changing that distinction. A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Mississippi have announced they are crafting legislation that would remove the recognizable Confederate symbol from their flag.
The move comes as there has been renewed interest in purging relics and statues honoring the Confederacy from southern states amid national protests over racial inequities.
This is not the first time Mississippi has considered a new flag design. In 2001, voters in the state chose to retain the Confederate symbol on their flag by a 2-to-1 margin. Gov. Tate Reeves says that vote informs his decision not to take any action on the issue himself.
"If and when Mississippians decide that they want to change the flag, and I think at some point they will, it ought to be the people of Mississippi," Reeves said.
Under the legislation currently being written, the state flag would be replaced by a design already approved for vehicle tags in Mississippi. The design by artist Laurin Stennis features a large blue star, surrounded by a circle of 19 smaller stars, inside two large red stripes. The significance of the stars is to identify that Mississippi was the 20th state admitted to the Union.
Republican State House Speaker Philip Gunn has announced he is supportive of the idea.