Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed a bill to change the state flag on Tuesday, effectively ending the most prominent display of the Confederate battle emblem in the country.

Mississippi’s state flag has sparked controversy for decades for prominently displaying the Confederate symbol, which has long been associated with America’s racist history. Backlash against the flag and other tributes to the Confederacy has grown in recent weeks as people protest racial injustice and police brutality across the country.

Reeves, a Republican, addressed critics of the flag’s removal and their fears that doing so would erase state history.

“This is not a political moment to me but a solemn occasion to lead our Mississippi family to come together and

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