Kylin Hill of Mississippi State University, one of the nation's top running backs, said he would sit out his senior season at MSU if the state continued to fly the flag bearing the Confederate symbol.
With a stroke of the governor's pen, MS is retiring the last state flag in the USA with the Confederate battle emblem-a symbol that's widely condemned as racist. As he completed the process, a cheer could be heard from people outside the Governor's Mansion who were watching the livestream broadcast on their phones.
NORWOOD: Leah Campbell drove up from the coast for the ceremony. The removal of the flag, a long-simmering source of controversy in one of the breakaway Southern states that fought in the American Civil War of the 1860s, follows the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed in police custody in Minnesota.
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) - one of the major collegiate athletic conferences in the United States - earlier this month said that it would not hold championship games in MS unless the flag was changed. Particularly the Black Caucus who started this generations ago.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey threatened on June 18 to not host any future conference championship events in MS until the state changed its flag.
NORWOOD: Like Medgar Evers, a civil rights activist and Mississippi NAACP leader who was assassinated in 1963.
With a Republican majority, the two houses of the assembly approved on Sunday the withdrawal of this controversial symbol, which will have to be replaced by a new flag no longer bearing the standard of Confederation. "It's not what it was in 1894, either, inclusive of all Mississippians", Evers-Everette said after the ceremony. Thank God. The tides are changing to a unified voice.
Said Reeves in signing over the flag's demise, "We are all Mississippians and we must all come together". Some lawmakers wanted another public vote rather than legislative action. "So, I'm elated to have been a part of the process in moving MS in a new direction, moving MS forward and bringing down the flag".
"Today is not a day that erases history but a day that faces it and writes its next chapter", said Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Lucien Smith in a statement calling for unity.
"I understand those concerns and am determined to protect MS from that unsafe outcome", he concluded.
A commission will now design a new flag, one that can not include the Confederate symbol and must have the words "In God We Trust". Voters will be asked to approve it in the November 3 election. If they reject it, the commission will draft a different design using the same guidelines, to be sent to voters later.