In Honor of Confederate Heritage Month in Mississippi

If only we knew why Mississippi chose to join the Confederacy...

The State of Mississippi's previous state flag.
“Flags Flying” by DM is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 — Note: this photo features Mississippi’s former State Flag, which flew over the state from 1894 to 2020.

In the last two days, news began to circulate that on Friday, April 12 Mississippi Governor Tate Reed declared April 2024 as Confederate Heritage Month in Mississippi. My immediate reaction was that doing so, in the year of our lord 2024, was a pretty bold decision. Then I began to research and discovered that Reed is actually following a three-decade-old tradition:

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared April 2024 as Confederate Heritage Month in Mississippi, keeping alive a 31-year-old tradition that began in 1993. Beauvoir, the Biloxi, Miss., the museum and historic home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, announced the proclamation in a Facebook post on Friday, April 12.

“Whereas, as we honor all who lost their lives in this war, 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,” says the governor’s proclamation, which is dated April 12. “Now, therefore, I, Tate Reeves, Governor of the State of Mississippi, hereby proclaim the month of April 2024 as Confederate Heritage Month in the State of Mississippi.”

While I am admittedly a child of the North (though the majority of my kin came to this country decades after the Civil War was fought) and find this type of celebration a rather peculiar thing to institute (especially in 1993) or to continue to celebrate to this day, Governor Reeves’ words about striving to understand the past have moved me. And so I choose to celebrate Mississippi’s honoring of the Confederacy by reproducing, word-for-word, the state’s Declaration of Secession from the Union.

I encourage everyone to read it–if possible aloud to friends and family. To help with said oration, I’ve chosen to emphasize certain points so you can be sure to deliver them with the appropriate gravitas they deserve.

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.

In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.

  • The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern Territory.
  • The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.
  • The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the territory acquired from Mexico.
  • It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.
  • It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.
  • It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.
  • It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.
  • It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.
  • It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.
  • It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.
  • It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.
  • It has invaded a State, and invested with the honors of martyrdom the wretch whose purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons of destruction to our lives.
  • It has broken every compact into which it has entered for our security.
  • It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our agriculture, to prostrate our industrial pursuits and to destroy our social system.
  • It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops not in its march of aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause.
  • It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and brotherhood.

Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property. For far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England.

Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace the alternative of separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our rights with the full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting belief of our ability to maintain it.

Well, I definitely learned something from reading that. How about you dear readers? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments.

Be sure to share how you plan to honor Mississippi’s Confederate Heritage Month.

FILED UNDER: History, Race and Politics, US Constitution, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Matt Bernius
About Matt Bernius
Matt Bernius is a design researcher working to create more equitable government systems and experiences. He's currently a Principal User Researcher on Code for America's "GetCalFresh" program, helping people apply for SNAP food benefits in California. Prior to joining CfA, he worked at Measures for Justice and at Effective, a UX agency. Matt has an MA from the University of Chicago.


  1. Bravo!

  2. gVOR10 says:

    Indeed, thank you. The rest of the seceding states also offered declarations, very much like above. An honest study of Confederate history would be as valuable as it is unlikely. Perhaps to avoid charges of “woke”, instead of focusing on slavery we could look at just how bloody stupid succession was.

  3. SenyorDave says:

    When put this way, I assume that some conservatives will grudgingly admit that slavery may have played at least a small part in Mississippi’s decision to secede from the Union.

  4. Michael Reynolds says:


    instead of focusing on slavery we could look at just how bloody stupid succession was.

    One of my dogs is an undersized pug. She is determined to get into a fight with a neighbor’s 100 pound Husky. Once Britain refused to come in on the side of the South, the Civil War was over. Now, if my pug could just get a superpower ally, say the big yellow Lab. . .

  5. Matt Bernius says:

    I have no idea where you get this idea that they seceded over slavery. I mean, I tried to carefully highlight most of the passages that had to do with State’s rights.

  6. CSK says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    The Declaration of Secession of South Carolina, which I believe was the first state to secede, made it clear that the only states’ right worth dying for was the right to own slaves.

  7. Matt Bernius says:

    To own what now?

  8. CSK says:

    @Matt Bernius:


  9. Mimai says:

    Mississippi: “I was taken out of context!!”

  10. Slugger says:

    I’m going to spend tomorrow evening celebrating the first evening of Passover where we remember that we were all enslaved once and that God intervened directly in human affairs to liberate people from the yoke. Those who do not defy slavery will suffer plagues. Additionally, the enforcers of oppression will drown in the sea. Clearly, freedom for all, equality, and justice are the will of God.

  11. Matt Bernius says:

    Those are all strong points.

    But what about cases where apparently the most important product on earth depends, and therefore your entire economy, depends on them and the superpower granted to them by… *checks notes* dark skin… to survive exposure to the tropical sun that shines down on Mississippi.

    As you know, by this point, that horrid sun drove the majority of White residents of the state to live underground. And it’s that proud mole-person proud history of that exception we will be celebrating for the reminder of April!

    After all, we’re talking about the greatest material interest of the world here.

  12. Gavin says:

    I plan to honor confederate heritage month by rereading the Cornerstone Speech.

    All these woke Confederates talking about heritage obscures the reality they’re supposed to celebrate. They can’t even say that the actual problem they had with states’ rights was that the Northern states would have those rights also… I think the final issue was Kentucky requesting the return of some slaves from Indiana (or was it Illinois?) and when that was rejected because Indiana claimed states’ rights, it’s go time.

  13. Kurtz says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    To own what now?

    Well, this is brilliant.

  14. Stephen Karlson says:

    I should contemplate an April trip to Vicksburg to leave some flowers at the Illinois and Wisconsin monuments there.