Mississippi governor forces Confederate Heritage Month on voters who rejected racist flag

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In 2020, Mississippi residents voted to replace the Confederate design on their state flag.

Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves on April 7 issued a proclamation honoring the pro-slavery Confederacy, declaring April 2021 as "Confederate Heritage Month" in the state.

The proclamation claims that the month is to "honor all who lost their lives in this war" and calls on Americans to "gain insight from our mistakes and successes" and to "carefully and earnestly strive to understand and appreciate our heritage."

The document makes no reference to the approximately 4 million Black Americans held in slavery at the beginning of the war, nor does it note the key role the breakaway Confederacy played in defending the practice of slavery held.

Reeves' declaration comes just a little over five months after Mississippi voters decided, in November 2020, to change the state flag from one prominently featuring the Confederate battle flag. The measure replaced the existing flag with the design of a magnolia blossom. It passed with 68% of the vote.

When the state was debating the decision to change the design of the flag, Reeves said he would support legislation to do so, noting on Twitter it would mean "the page has been turned."

The Mississippi Free Press noted that the proclamation was not posted on the official website for the state alongside other declarations, but rather was posted to the Facebook page of an affiliate of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

In 2013, Reeves gave a speech to the same group, who describes its mission as the "preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the Second American Revolution." Reeves spoke with a large Confederate flag behind him.

Reeve's April proclamation comes after a wide-ranging national discussion in 2020 about racism, and a year in which at least 160 monuments around the country honoring the pro-slavery Confederacy were removed.

Reeves' office did not respond to a request from the American Independent Foundation for comment on this story.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.