A Mississippi state flag has been taken down at the U.S. Capitol, following a vote by the state’s legislature to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the official flag.
“I’m here because this is history,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, who attended the small replacement “ceremony” in the Dirksen tunnel. The Mississippi Republican had called on his home state to remove the Confederate iconography five years ago. But it took nationwide protests over racial injustice to create the political pressure necessary to get it done.
Staffers from the Architect of the Capitol waited until Gov. Tate Reeves signed the removal bill at 5 p.m. before they hoisted its replacement.
“Do we have a flag?” Wicker asked them.
“Five more minutes of sewing,” an employee replied.
The new flag is a placeholder, according to Wicker. It’s based on the bicentennial version the state released in 2017.
However, there’s still the matter of the giant Mississippi flag hanging at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in another corner of Washington. “I think we’ll just live through it,” said Wicker, noting the difficulty of replacing the massive flag.