Mississippi moves to strip Confederate emblem from state flag

Washington, June 28
Politicians in Mississippi have taken a major step towards removing the Confederate emblem from the flag of the US state.

On Saturday, both chambers of the Republican-led state congress voted to begin the process of changing the flag, the BBC reported.

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The vote passed in both chambers of the Mississippi legislature: in the House of Representatives by a margin of 84-35, and then in the Senate by 36-14.

This means a bill to change the state flag can now be formally introduced. It is expected to be proposed on Sunday when the state congress is back in session, the BBC quoted US media reports as saying.

Republican Governor Tate Reeves said that he would sign a bill to do so if it was approved in Congress.

He had previously said that he would not veto a bill, but did not publicly back it.

Mississippi is the last state in the US to feature the emblem on its flag.

The flag was originally used by the slave-owning states who lost the US Civil War (1860-65).

"I would never have thought that I would see the flag come down in my lifetime," Democrat Barbara Blackmon, who is African-American, said on Saturday.

If the bill passes, a commission will design a new flag, to be be voted on in November.

The Confederate emblem is viewed by many as a racist symbol, with recent protests over the death of George Floyd reigniting debate over its use, said the BBC.

Hundreds of statues dedicated to the Confederacy - the southern states which revolted against the US government - exist all throughout the US, and often serve as an reminder of the history of slavery and racial oppression in the US.