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The Spill: Mississippi Flag

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Changing the Mississippi Flag

Slavery has always been a scar on American history. Before the Civil War, some white landowners forced black people to work for them as slaves. America doesn’t have slavery anymore, but many people still claim to feel the effects of inequality today. Across the nation, Confederate symbols and statues are being torn down, because the Confederacy wanted to keep slaves. The Confederate South was defeated in the Civil War, but some southern states still like to remember the old nation. One state has kept the Confederate flag symbol on its flag … until now.

Mississippi’s state flag has the southern symbol in the top left corner. A bill to change the state flag was passed. The next step is for the governor, Tate Reeves, to review and sign the law. After that, Mississippians will vote on the change in the November election.

Mississippi State Representative Ed Blackmon said, “I would guess a lot of you don’t even see the flag in the corner right there. There are some of us who notice it every time we walk in here, and it’s not a good feeling.”

The Confederate flag was designed just before the Civil War began, as a way for states who had seceded from the Union to get together. The flag was not a symbol of slavery, but of a southern “nation” that fought to keep its way of life. Unfortunately, this way of life included slavery.

Mississippi is the last state to remove the Confederate symbol from its flag.

NASA Names Headquarters after a Hidden Figure

NASA is naming its Washington D.C. headquarters after Mary W. Jackson. She was a black woman who worked for the space agency and helped to send men to the moon.

Mary W. Jackson

Mary grew up during a time of strong racism and segregation, yet she earned a college degree in math and physical science. In 1951, she went to work for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which in 1958 would become NASA. At the time, many classes and labs were segregated by skin color.

After two years, she got hands-on experience doing experiments.

Mary became the first female black engineer for NASA. She was part of the “Hidden Figure” group of black women at the agency. This group worked on important jobs for NASA, but the ladies were not given credit until much later.

Mary passed away in 2005. In 2019, President Donald Trump signed the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act, awarding the honor to her and her co-workers.

A 51st State?

In 1959, Alaska and Hawaii were the last two states to join the Union, giving us the 50 states we now have in the U.S. Could the U.S. soon gain a new state? On June 26, the House of Representatives passed a law to make Washington D.C. its own state – the 51st in the nation.

America’s capital is in Washington, District of Columbia. The area is not a state, but a district, which is controlled by the federal government. Unlike states, it does not have members of Congress.

Those who want to give Washington, D.C. statehood say they want to be represented in Congress. They want to rename the area to “Washington, Douglass Commonwealth,” after first president George Washington and Frederick Douglass, a former slave who worked to stop slavery.

If passed, the new state would get one seat in the House and two in the Senate. Not everyone is for the change, though. Some people say it would give the area too much power, since that’s where the federal government is based.

This isn’t the first time a move to turn D.C. into a state has been attempted; others tried in 1888, 1921, and 1993, but none have reached such success until now.

Try an online crossword with clues from this week’s news!

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