New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered that the Mississippi state flag, which includes a Confederate emblem, and flies at Liberty State Park, be replaced by the American flag.
Liberty State Park, a preserve of more than 1,200 acres in Jersey City that overlooks Ellis Island and Lady Liberty, includes a ring of flags from all 50 states.
Explaining his reasoning, Governor Murphy said New Jersey is rooted in diversity and the flag doesn’t fit.
“The Confederate symbol displayed on the Mississippi state flag is reprehensible and does not reflect our values of inclusivity and equality,” he said in a statement.
Mississippi’s flag includes the Confederate battle emblem in the upper left corner. The emblem has a red field topped by a blue X, dotted with 13 white stars. It has appeared on Mississippi’s flag since 1894.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, said in a statement Friday: “I’m disappointed in Gov. Murphy’s actions. As I have repeatedly said, the voters of Mississippi should decide what the state flag is or is not.”
Mississippians who voted in a 2001 statewide election chose to keep the flag.
However, several Mississippi cities and counties and all eight of the state’s public universities have stopped flying it in recent years amid criticism that the battle emblem is a racist reminder of slavery and segregation. Supporters of the flag say it represents history.
Murphy said he made the decision after Democratic state Sen. Sandra Cunningham raised the issue with him.
Cunningham said in a statement that the flag symbolized “an era of hate, violence, and division.”