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Mississippi Edition - 2022 Confederate Memorial Day

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Photographed on July 14, 2021, a figure of a Confederate officer, spyglasses in hand, rests on the summit of this war memorial, erected in 1913 in Greenwood, Miss., by the Varina Jefferson Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, in Greenwood, Miss., sits on the lawn of the Leflore County Courthouse.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

In Mississippi, the fourth Monday in April is an officially recognized state holiday.  The designation for this holiday is Confederate Memorial Day, and it usually coincides with the state's Governor proclaiming all of April as Confederate Heritage Month.  Mississippi is only one of three states to observe a such state holiday.

The Mississippi Declaration of Secession - drafted and adopted in 1861 - clearly states the reasons for dissolving its membership in the United States of America.

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery - the greatest material interest of the world."

Today, Mississippi's population is nearly 40 percent Black - the highest in the nation.  Yet, since Reconstruction, state leadership has continued to elevate the values of the Confederacy through these holidays.

MPB News

Mississippi Edition - 2022 Confederate Memorial Day Special (Full)


Each year on the Fourth of July, NPR hosts and reporters read the Declaration of Independence in full on-air. The reading is broadcast here on MPB Think Radio, and on hundreds more NPR member stations across the U.S.

This annual return to a founding document invites us to reflect on the principles and ideals on which the United States was built. To quote NPR, "the declaration is a document with flaws and deeply ingrained hypocrisies. It also laid the foundation for our collective aspirations, our hopes for what America could be."

Today in Mississippi is Confederate Memorial Day: a much different holiday, informed by a different founding document. 

The Mississippi Declaration of Secession is shorter than the Declaration of Independence. It also lacks the idealism that Thomas Jefferson poured into his prose.

Mississippi's Declaration is instead dedicated to the defense of one racist institution. 

We asked six leaders and scholars with Mississippi roots to read the document in full (Ty Seidule, Robert Luckett, Leslei-Burl McLemore, Von Gordon, Cassie Sade Turnipseed and Stephanie Rolph).