Voters in Mississippi have been given the opportunity to settle a longstanding debate over the flag it’s used for 126 years.
That flag contains the emblem of the Confederacy, and has been criticized as a symbol of oppression and a celebration of the state’s racist past.
An attempt to replace that flag through a statewide referendum failed 19 years ago. Since then, local and national pressure from sports groups and advocacy organizations to change the flag has only intensified.
That pressure grew as social justice protests following the police killing of George Floyd and others forced the country to reckon with the impact of systemic racism and injustice on Black communities. Confederate statues were under siege, and so too was the flag.
The Mississippi legislature responded with a historic vote to remove the flag, which was adopted during the Reconstruction era. The measure passed, and shortly after, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed it into law. By early July, the banner was no longer being flown from state buildings.
Now, voters have a chance to embrace a new flag, which features a magnolia blossom, and 21 stars — one for each state that joined the US before Mississippi, and one to acknowledge the Choctaw origins of the state.
Mississippi Measure 3
A yes vote would mean the state will adopt the new flag. A no vote would mean the new flag will not be adopted.