Governor Phil Bryant declared April to be Confederate Heritage Month, saying he hopes to encourage “reflection” on his state’s history.
The proclamation notes that because April was the month the Confederate States ended its attempt to secede from the union, the month will be dedicated to recognizing those who served in the Confederacy.
Noticeably absent is any direct mention of slavery. But the Republican governor’s language does make it implicit that Mississippians should study and learn from the “mistakes” of history.
“It is important for all Americans to reflect Upon our nation’s past,” the proclamation reads, “to 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.”
This week, a spokesman for the governor’s office said the proclamation is not much different than that of previous Mississippi governors, nor those of proclamations from other southern states.
“Like his predecessors — both Republican and Democrat — who issued similar proclamations, Gov. Bryant believes Mississippi’s history deserves study and reflection, no matter how unpleasant or complicated parts of it may be,” spokesman Clay Chandler said. “Like the proclamation says, gaining insight from our mistakes and successes will help us move forward.”
Governor Bryant made similar proclamations in 2012 and 2013.
Still, the governor’s office also noted the declaration was issued at the behest of the Mississippi chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy.
The proclamation was first reported by the Jackson Free Press, in which the governor was taken to task for signing the Confederate History proclamation even as a string of bills aimed at removing the Confederate Flag from the Mississippi state flag lay ignored in the state legislature.
The paper also noted Bryant has stayed out of the argument over the state’s flag, preferring to let the legislature come to its own conclusions.
Several liberal websites initially claimed the proclamation doesn’t appear on the governor’s website, but in fact it does. It appears right on the official Proclamations page, sandwiched between “Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Action Day 2016” and “Physician Anesthesiologists Week 2016.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.