The Confederacy lasted for fewer years than it took me to buy window shades for my apartment, but for a full century and a quarter, the state of Mississippi’s displayed the Confederate battle emblem in its own state flag. On Sunday, lawmakers finally voted to remove it, but whew, it’s been a journey.
CBS News reports that the Mississippi State House voted 91-23 to remove the flag, with the State Senate voting in favor of removal 37-14. The flag design was first adopted in 1894, less than 30 years after the end of the Confederacy. There have been multiple efforts to get the Confederate symbol removed from the flag, including a 2001 vote in which voters ultimately voted two to one to keep it. But we are in a new moment now, one in which at least some legislators are finally listening to pleas to reexamine symbols of the Confederacy, and on Thursday a poll found that 55 percent of Mississippians wanted a flag redesign.
“My ancestors were beaten and traumatized, and it was under that flag,” political activist Jarrius Adams told CBS News. “There are a lot of moments when I’m not proud to be from Mississippi, but this is definitely a moment that I’m extremely proud to be from Mississippi.”
Of course, while it’s nice that Mississippi finally decided to make the move, it certainly took them long enough. The state was the last in the nation to still have the battle emblem in their flag, following Georgia’s flag redesign in 2003—though some states, including Florida and Alabama, still include lesser known Confederate symbols in their flags.