The legislation – which empowered the State House in a 91-23 vote and the State Senate with a 37-14 vote – comes as Mississippi lawmakers have been pondering a flag change for weeks amidst ongoing racial justice protests across the country. The flag, first adopted in 1894, has red, white and blue stripes with the Confederate battle emblem nearby.
The bill establishes a commission to develop a new flag design without the Confederate emblem that includes the phrase “In God, we trust.” Voters in the state of Mississippi would then vote on the new design in November.
State representative Jeramey Anderson, a Moss Point Democrat, applauded his visit on Sunday as a “historic moment.”
And NAACP chairman Derrick Johnson told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Sunday evening, “There is a long way to go. ”
“Finally, Mississippi has decided to be one of 50 states, not the only state that still bears the emblem of a segregated society,” he said.
Sunday’s vote came after the Mississippi House and Senate passed a resolution on Saturday to begin the flag change process.
After these votes, Jefferson Davis’s great-grandson, Bertram Hayes-Davis, approved the potential change of the Mississippi flag, saying that “the battle flag has been flown” and “does not represent the people whole of Mississippi “.
“It is historic and linked to heritage, there are many people who look at it this way, and God bless them for this heritage. So put it in a museum and honor it there or put it in your house, but the Mississippi flag should represent the whole population, and I’m delighted that we’re finally going to make this change, “said Hayes -Notice to Ana Cabrera from CNN in »Newsroom« Saturday.
The Confederation flag, its symbols and the statues commemorating the Confederate leaders have long divided the country. Critics call the flag a symbol that represents war to defend slavery, while supporters call it a sign of southern pride and heritage.
Symbols have increasingly become a rallying call for white supremacists.
In recent weeks, the death of George Floyd has led to the removal – by protesters in some cases and city leaders in others – of disputed statues and Confederate symbols that have shaken some residents for decades or more.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on May 25 in Minneapolis. During his arrest, Floyd was held by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer for more than eight minutes.
He was pronounced dead soon after. His death, which was captured on video, sparked protests across the United States, with people calling for an end to police violence against people of color.
This story was updated with additional reaction from Mississippi lawmakers and the president of the NAACP.
CNN’s Kay Jones, Allison Gordon, James Froio and Kelly Mena contributed to this report.