In 2020, Mississippi retired its old state flag, which included a Confederate battle emblem in the canton, and voters approved a new blue and red "magnolia" design — a change intended to disavow the state's legacy of pro-slavery rebellion.
But that doesn't mean Mississippi has completely stopped celebrating the uglier points of its past. According to the Mississippi Free Press on Monday, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves continued an annual tradition, quietly declaring April "Confederate History Month" — and, while avoiding a public press release on the matter, giving the proclamation statement to a neo-Confederate group to display on its website.
"The new document, which Reeves apparently signed on April 7, 2021, appears on the Sons of Confederate Veterans' Camp 265 Rankin Rough & Ready's Facebook page. Reeves is from Rankin County," wrote Donna Ladd. "The proclamation does not yet appear on the secretary of state's official proclamations page at press time. The last one mentioning Reeves there is dated March 29, 2021. This writer found last year's proclamation on a Sons of Confederate Veterans Facebook page rather than through official government channels as well, breaking the news at the Jackson Free Press."
According to the report, in recent years governors have taken to "secretly" releasing the proclamations in this manner, to avoid public scrutiny, including Reeves' immediate predecessor Phil Bryant.
"Bryant's 2016 proclamation appeared then on the website of Beauvoir, the Gulf Coast home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, which is now a museum that has long sold revisionist books about the Confederacy, as well as received state funds, and his staff then refused to return calls before the story broke," said the report. "The Sons of Confederate Veterans run both Beauvoir, including a Confederate cemetery there, as well as its website."