According to documents obtained by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Bryant is the fourth governor who continues the annual tradition of signing proclamations. Former Governor. Kirk Fordice signed the proclamation for the first time in December 1993, the year Mississippi officially recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day. According to logs kept at the Department of Archives and History, a Southaven resident wrote Fordice in 1996: “I was so happy to see you recognized and proclamated April Confederate Heritage Month.” “It seems that other celebrations of heritage are getting so much attention lately that important events in South are overshadowed and ignored, forgotten and forgotten,” the text of the proclamation has been used every year since 1993, including the 2016 one. Fordice signed the proclamation from 1993-1999. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove signed the document for all four years between 2000 and 2003. Gov. It was signed by Haley Barbour every year from 2004 to 2011. Bryant signed the proclamation in 2012, and has continued to sign it each year since. Clay Chandler, Bryant’s communications director, said that Bryant signed the proclamation on February 23rd at the request of Sons of Confederate Veterans. According to records, Fordice signed the 1993 proclamation at the request of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Military Order of the Stars and Bars and the Order of the Confederate Rose. Musgrove is the only surviving governor to have signed the proclamation. He said that his staff prepared proclamations to be signed by him, and that they often passed down proclamations from former governors. Musgrove said that he had never spoken with the Sons of Confederate Veterans and would not sign the current proclamation if he was elected governor in 2016. Musgrove stated that he believes it is important to gain insight from our past, examine where we have made mistakes and learn from them. “No one can erase history. We are responsible for our actions. These (confederate symbols) represent a culture that maintains institutional racism. This proclamation doesn’t reflect fairness that should have been included.” Mississippi is the only state that recognizes Confederate Heritage Month. According to Southern Poverty Law Center research, it is also one of seven states that recognize Confederate Memorial Day. More information will be available in the coming weeks. This year’s proclamation made national headlines as Southern states strive to balance honoring their past with shaping their future. The Confederate battle banner was removed from the Capitol grounds by state officials following the Charleston church shooting of 2015. New Orleans’ city is working with the Louisiana legislature on what to do about the confederate monuments in the city. These monuments were originally to be taken down but have been repeatedly vandalized and damaged by supporters of the symbolism. The Mississippi Code does not mention proclamations, even the section listing the powers of the governor. There have been generally two types of gubernatorial Proclamations in Mississippi. The first type is legally binding, such as one that declares a disaster zone or sends National Guard soldiers to a specific area of the state. These are usually signed by the Mississippi secretary-of-state and are recorded by that office. Other types of proclamations, which are not legally binding and recognize citizens or towns within the state for different reasons or declare holidays such as Nurses Awareness Week and Confederate Heritage Month, are not legal. These types of proclamations are typically logged by the governor’s own office, and not the secretary of states. According to a public records request, this year’s Confederate Heritage Month proclamation by Bryant was the first that the secretary of state’s has logged since 1995. Except for 2016, none of Bryant’s and Barbour’s proclamations are recorded in the books kept by the secretary of state at the capitol office. Mississippi Today received Bryant and Barbour’s proclamations directly from the secretary-state’s office. Clay Chandler and Knox Graham, Bryant’s communications staff, did not respond to multiple calls or emails within a three week period. They were unable to comment on the proclamation. The Sons of Confederate Veterans have celebrated the holiday and month since 1993 with memorials, ceremonies and other events mostly held at confederate cemeteries. Marc Allen, Mississippi SCV public relations officer, said. He said that the SCV and other confederate heritage organizations host events every weekend in April. Most of these events are held at monuments and cemeteries. Allen stated that Confederate Heritage Month was a great way to get people involved in their history. There’s always something happening in Jackson every weekend, but Confederate Memorial Day is the most significant. Two dozen protesters staged a “not mine heritage” rally outside of the state capitol on March 26. This week, more protests are planned. The proclamation is a target concern for activists.