Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has again signed a proclamation declaring April Confederate Heritage Month, according to the Mississippi Free Press.
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.
The proclamation does not yet appear on the secretary of state’s official proclamations page at press time. The most recent one on the page is dated March 29, 2021.
“Darn’ tootin’ it is!” the SCV Facebook post reads. “It’s official- April is Confederate Heritage and History Month in our state of Mississippi and we observe it with pride!”
In what appears to be the 2021 proclamation, Reeves repeats the same language he used in the 2020 proclamation, which he issued within weeks of COVID-19 hitting Mississippi, amending [former Mississippi Gov. Phil] Bryant’s 2016 order. Bryant said outright that the Confederacy started the Civil War. His 2016 proclamation began: “April is the month when the Confederate states began and ended a four-year struggle.” That is accurate: the South started the conflict by firing on Fort Sumter, S.C., on April 12, 1861, over the right to own and extend slavery to new U.S. states.
Reeves however, takes a more “all sides matter” approach—hearkening back to the “reconciliation” approach of the United Confederate Veterans and the Daughters of the Confederacy. Led by former Confederate officer and first Mississippi State University President Stephen D. Lee of Mississippi after Reconstruction ended, Confederate revisionists pushed for a strategy that ended in “lost cause mythology” through textbook censorship and public marketing, including through the proliferation of Confederate statues and memorials across the South.
This “redemption” ideology—which actually advocated for maintaining white supremacy and turning back new-found rights for Black Americans–taught that the north was just as responsible as the south, if not more so, for what some southerners still call the “War of Northern Aggression.” “April is the month when, in 1861, the American Civil War began between the Confederate and Union armies, reportedly the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil…,” his proclamation begins.
The current governor also strongly implies that his proclamation includes those who died fighting for the Union as well with the addition of “as we honor all who lost their lives in this war.” He adds that “it is important for all Americans to reflect upon our nation’s past, to gain insight from our mistakes and successes, and to come to a full understanding that the lessons learned yesterday and today will carry us through tomorrow if we carefully and earnestly strive to understand and appreciate our heritage and our opportunities which lie before us.”
Image credit: Screengrab / Mississippi Public Broadcasting / YouTube