The 126-year fight to change Mississippi’s Confederate flag

For 126 years, the Mississippi state flag featured the emblem of the Confederate battle in its design. This emblem is the most enduring and recognizable symbol of the American Civil War, a four-year conflict in which the southern states fought to preserve slavery in the United States.

Since then, the symbol has been used as a Southern pride banner – but it is also widely used by white supremacists to honor a time when black Americans were enslaved. Mississippi activists have protested against the state flag for decades, and that almost changed in 2001, when an alternative model was presented but failed to garner enough votes to replace the old one.

Following the 2015 massacre of nine black worshipers in South Carolina and the 2020 uprising in response to the murder of George Floyd, the Mississippi legislature ultimately abolished the state flag bearing the Confederate emblem. On November 3, 2020, voters in Mississippi approved a new flag design that is more inclusive and representative of the state’s people.

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