- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 27, 2019

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy had the Mississippi state flag removed from a park near the Statue of Liberty on Friday because it bears the Confederate battle emblem.

Mr. Murphy, a first-term Democrat, ordered that the U.S. flag replace Mississippi’s on Freedom Way in Liberty State Park where the flags of all 50 states are usually flown.

“New Jersey’s strength is rooted in our diverse communities,” Mr. Murphy said. “The Confederate symbol displayed on the Mississippi state flag is reprehensible and does not reflect our values of inclusivity and equality.”

First adopted in 1894, the Mississippi flag contained the Confederate battle emblem in its upper-left corner alongside horizontal blue, white and red stripes. It was repealed as the state flag in 1906, but the lack of a replacement has left it in de facto use for more than a century.

Mr. Murphy credited the decision to state Sen. Sandra Cunningham, a Democrat representing Jersey City where the park is located across from Ellis Island.

“The Confederate flag symbolizes an era of hate, violence and division,” Ms. Cunningham said. “I thank Governor Murphy for his commitment to tolerance and equality and for the decision to remove this hateful symbol from Liberty State Park. Hate has no home in New Jersey.”

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, said he was “disappointed” by Mr. Murphy’s decision.

“As I have repeatedly said, the voters of Mississippi should decide what the state flag is or is not,” Mr. Bryant said in a statement.

Mississippians voted in a statewide referendum in 2001 to retain the previously repealed flag. Georgia adopted a new state flag two years later, making Mississippi the only state in the country that still has a Confederate symbol on its state flag.

More than a century of efforts to eradicate tributes to the former Confederacy gained steam in recent years after the flag became connected with murders that took place in Charleston, South Carolina, and Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

Dylann Roof posed in photographs with the Confederate flag prior to being convicted of fatally shooting nine people in a black church in Charleston, and James Alex Fields Jr. was found guilty of murdering a woman in Charlottesville after traveling from Ohio to attend a rally held in support of a Confederate statue.

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