Governor Phil Bryant proclaims Confederate Heritage Month

Published 10:19 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

By Emily Wagster Pettus

Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has again proclaimed April to be Confederate Heritage Month.

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The proclamation does not specifically mention slavery, and is similar to ones previously issued by Republican Bryant. Other Mississippi governors, Democrat and Republican, have made similar proclamations.

The Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans posted Bryant’s proclamation on its website during the weekend.

Bryant spokesman Knox Graham confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that the document was signed and issued by the second-term governor on Friday — the same day Bryant was on the Gulf Coast for a state bicentennial celebration that drew a crowd of thousands.

“As I’ve said in the past, I believe Mississippi’s history deserves study and reflection, no matter how unpleasant or complicated the matter may be,” Bryant said in a statement Monday. “Like other governors before me who issued similar proclamations for over the last two decades, I also believe gaining insight from our mistakes and successes will help us move forward.”

Bryant proclaimed last October to be Racial Reconciliation Month, at the request of Mission Mississippi, a Christian group that has been working since 1993 to break down barriers in a state with a troubled history of race relations. The state’s population is about 60 percent white and 38 percent black.

In Georgia last week, a white lawmaker drew criticism from the Legislative Black Caucus after he filed a resolution that proposed recognizing April as Confederate History Month. The resolution died when the Georgia legislative session ended.

Without naming the Civil War, Bryant’s resolution notes that the “Confederate states began and ended a four-year struggle” in April.

Mississippi has the last state flag in the nation that prominently features the Confederate battle emblem. The state has had the same flag since 1894, and voters chose to keep it in 2001. Bryant has said if the flag design is to be reconsidered, it should be done by another statewide election.