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Georgia lawmakers agreed to shrink the Confederate emblem on the state flag to a tiny symbol Tuesday heeding a plea from the governor to apply the salve of reconciliation and avoid the turmoil that swept South Carolina The 34-22 votes in the Georgia Senate virtually consign to history a flag that some say symbolizes Southern valor but others contend represents slavery The measure won House approval last week and Gov Roy Barnes promised to sign it quickly I think the people of Georgia were ready to move on they were ready for this matter to be resolved they did not want a long drawn-out process like they just had in South Carolina he said The rebel banner added to the flag in 1956 in what some historians say was a gesture of contempt for school desegregation occupies two-thirds of the current flag On the new flag it will be reduced to one of five historic flags displayed along the bottom edge below the state seal On a standard 3-by-5-foot flag the small flags are little bigger than a dollar bill Im mad as a hornet said Bill Cawthon a member of the Southern Heritage League Our flag will always remain our flag We will never accept the new flag It wasnt immediately clear when the new banners would fly at state buildings The design was unveiled just last week A fight over the Confederate flag that flew over the South Carolina statehouse led to an economic boycott by civil rights groups something Barnes wanted to avoid The flag in South Carolina was moved to a spot on the Capitol grounds last summer In Mississippi the only state besides Georgia with the Confederate emblem in its flag voters will decide in April whether to remove the symbol Civil rights groups promised to call off any boycotts in Georgia if the new flag was approved As he did before a House vote last week Barnes
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