Gov. Tate Reeves dismisses proposal calling for two state flags in Mississippi

Jimmie E. Gates
Mississippi Clarion Ledger
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Gov. Tate Reeves said he doesn't think a proposal calling for two state flags is a viable alternative.

Monday on Twitter, Reeves said, "Over the weekend there has been a proposal floating amongst some in the Legislature to create a second Mississippi flag. Let’s call it the “Separate but Equal” flag option. While well-intentioned I’m sure, it does not meet the threshold."

Calls to change the state flag, which features a Confederate emblem, continue to mount.

Stennis flag:Creator removes name from popular alternative to Mississippi flag

Reeves said over the last several years, he has repeatedly warned that any attempt to change the state flag by a few politicians in the state Capitol will be met with contempt.

The Mississippi state flag.

"If the leadership in 2001 had not put it on the ballot, then the conversation may be different," Reeves tweeted. "But they did. And therefore we must work together to find a solution where, when everyone has their say, we can come back together as a family and prosper. We must work together to find a solution that, once all is said and done, unites us as a people proud of our future! I've been thinking and praying hard about the best way to accomplish that."

In 2001, about 64% of voters voted against changing the state flag.

House Speaker Philip Gunn has supported changing the state flag.

Reeves' comments come after it was reported by Mississippi Today that some state lawmakers had met and were considering a proposal for a referendum to allow a public vote on the flag or a second option of flying a second flag to go with the current flag.

In the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died on Memorial Day when a white Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on the back of Floyd's neck and kept it there for almost nine minutes, leading to protests across the country, there has been a renewed call for changing the Mississippi state flag. 

The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus is scheduled to conduct a news conference Tuesday to call for immediate removal of the state flag

Earlier this month, a group of interfaith leaders stood on the steps of the Catholic cathedral in downtown Jackson, calling for the immediate removal of the Mississippi state flag.

"Anything is better than what we've got now,"  participant Bishop Ronnie Crudup of New Horizon Church International said of the need for a new state flag.

Last week, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement saying the conference's championships will not take place in Mississippi until the Confederate emblem is removed from the state flag.

A day later, the NCAA said in a statement it would prohibit postseason events of any kind from taking place in Mississippi until the symbol of the Confederacy is permanently removed from the flag.

On Monday, the Conference USA took a cue from the NCAA and SEC by prohibiting all postseason play from taking place in Mississippi until the Confederate emblem is removed from Mississippi's flag.

Contact Jimmie E. Gates at 601-961-7212 or jgates@gannett.com. Follow @jgatesnews on Twitter.

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