Mississippi Makes April Confederate History Month
Thousands have rallied in opposition to Gov. Bryant's decision to celebrate Confederate heritage, with no mention of slavery.
Mississippi is officially making April Confederate Heritage Month, according to the Guardian. Phil Bryant, governor of Mississippi, made this declaration on the Sons of Confederate Veterans website, explaining that April was the month that the Confederacy "began and ended a four-year long struggle." There is no mention of the fact that the struggle he's referring to was caused by slavery.
Many people around Mississippi rallied in protest. The NAACP chapter of the state proposed the idea of a Union Army Heritage Month. The chapter's president Derrick Johnson, urging for the Union Army to be honored as well said, "These white and black Mississippi patriots fought for the continuation of the United States of America as one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all."
There were protests on the steps of the capitol in Jackson that included people from a variety of backgrounds and demographics. One young protestor, Kathleen Chambers, told local media that the white people she knows are not okay with the governor's declaration, saying that "we shouldn't celebrate owning people in the past."
Virginia once celebrated Confederate Heritage Month in April as well, but in 2010 there was such a backlash around the fact that no recognition of slavery was present in any language, that the state has since ended the holiday. Virginia governor Bob McConnell issued a statement apologizing for the omission and stating that "Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation."
So far, there has been no indication that Mississippi's Confederate Heritage Month will make a similar apology. The holiday was added to Gov. Bryant's website among the state's other proclamations, such as Ronald Reagan Day and Narcolepsy Awareness Day. There is no official proclamation of Black History Month.