A state commission responsible for choosing Mississippi’s next flag decided Wednesday on a design featuring 20 stars and a magnolia flower to replace the Confederate imagery on the current state flag.
The Magnolia Flag, which is set against a dark blue and red backdrop and features the state flower and the words “In God We Trust,” will now be in the hands of voters whether to approve the proposed change during the November elections.
The stars surrounding the magnolia flower represents Mississippi’s place as the 20th state to join the union. A golden star appears at the top of the circle to represent the state’s Native American heritage.
According to the Clarion Ledger, the options came down to two flags: The Magnolia Flag and the Great River Flag. The latter design featured a shield with wavy lines that represented the waters of the Mississippi River. Micah Whitson, the designer of the Great River Flag, said the lines at the top of the shield embodied the waters that have long powered the economy and influenced Mississippi’s culture.
The committee had two main conditions: the flag must have the words “In God We Trust,” and the Confederate battle emblem should not be featured. Over 3,000 proposals were submitted to the state’s history department.
The magnolia has long since been a symbol in Mississippi’s culture and history. It represented a refined vision of the past. Members of the committee said the bold and fragrant avatar also means change.
“All of my life Mississippi has been at the bottom, 50th, in whatever category you can think of. Whether income, health care, or education, we’ve always been on the bottom. On Nov. 3, I think that’ll start to change,” said Reuben Anderson, the first African American to serve on the state’s Supreme Court.
Earlier this summer, lawmakers voted to remove Mississippi’s former flag, partly because many citizens disapproved of the prominent display of Confederate iconography. The barrier made it difficult for Mississippi’s economy to grow and receive investments. The previous flag also acted as a barrier tho prevent racial harmony in the state, as reported by the New York Times.
Supporters of the proposed flag are optimistic that the latest design will tap into the pride of the Mississipi people that “extends beyond race or other divisions.”
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