After (finally!) deciding to dump its state flag that features the Confederate battle emblem in June, Mississippi opened its doors to a wave of new contenders. There were two rules: the flag must contain the phrase “In God We Trust,” and it must not involve any Confederate imagery.
The public submitted more than 3,000 designs, which a dedicated committee ultimately narrowed to five finalists last month. All of the designs except one invoked the state flower, the magnolia.
The commission held polls—not votes—to garner feedback. At the same time, we held a PRINT poll and were … surprised by the results.
No. 1, with 25.1% of the vote:
No. 2 (20.4%):
No. 3 (19.9%):
No. 4 (19.6%):
No. 5 (12.7%):
The state further winnowed the contenders to two: “The New Magnolia” (No. 2 above) by Rocky Vaughan, with design support provided by Sue Anna Joe, Kara Giles and Dominique Pugh, and “The Great River Flag” (No. 3 above) by Micah Whitson.
Today, the state commission voted on the design that it will bring to the ballot box in November. In an eight to one vote, “The New Magnolia” is the victor. The flag also claimed 60% of the official public poll.
Per the Mississippi Department of Archives & History:
The New Magnolia flag is anchored in the center field by a clean and modern magnolia blossom, a symbol long used to represent our state and the hospitality of our citizens. The New Magnolia also represents Mississippi’s sense of hope and rebirth, as the magnolia often blooms more than once and has a long blooming season. The New Magnolia is sleek and updated to represent the forward progression of Mississippi.
The circle of 20 stars represents Mississippi as the 20th state of the United States of America and is anchored by the gold five-point star, which stands alone. This star represents our first peoples, the indigenous Native American tribes of the land that would become Mississippi.
The color blue in the main field of the flag echoes the blue of the American flag, representing vigilance, justice, perseverance, while the bands of red represent hardiness and valor. The gold lines and the gold stamen of the New Magnolia are a nod to the rich cultural history of Mississippi, specifically the visual arts, literature, music and performing arts to originate in our state.
Regardless of which you preferred: At least it doesn’t have a mini Confederate flag on it?
Progress is progress.