JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is defending his decision to again name April as Confederate Heritage Month. The Republican governor signed a proclamation Friday. It does not mention that trying to preserve slavery was Mississippi’s stated reason for trying to secede in 1861.

Reeves responded to questions Wednesday, saying previous governors have issued Confederate Heritage Month proclamations. He said he didn’t think this was the year to stop. Mississippi has taken steps in recent years to distance itself from Confederate symbols. Reeves signed a law in 2020 that retired the last state flag in the U.S. that featured a Confederate battle emblem.