Mississippi State Flag
The new design for the Mississippi Flag was approved by the state’s voters in the November 2020 general election, and later signed into law by legislators. The old flag, which dated back to the Civil War and included the controversial cross from the Confederate battle flag, was retired in June of 2020.
Mississippi Flag Colors & Symbolism
“The New Magnolia” Mississippi state flag was designed by graphic artist Rocky Vaughan, and chosen from nearly 3,000 submissions by a commission of nine members appointed by the Mississippi governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker. The flag features a horizontal stripe of navy blue in the center, flanked on both sides with a red stripe separated with a thin stripe of gold. In the center is a white magnolia blossom from the official state tree, circled by 20 stars, representing Mississippi’s admission as the 20th state. At the peak of the circle, a single gold star represents the Native tribes who lived on the land before it became Mississippi. The phrase, “In God We Trust” appears at the base of the circle.
According to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, “the design represents Mississippi’s sense of hope and rebirth, as the Magnolia often blooms more than once and has a long blooming season."
History of the State Flag of Mississippi
Many state flags can trace their ancestry back to the Civil War, and the state of Mississippi flag is no exception. The state flew a solid blue flag with a white star in the center, known as the Bonnie Blue Flag, immediately after it succeeded from the Union, but that flag was soon replaced with the original Mississippi Magnolia Flag.
Original Mississippi Magnolia Flag
The Magnolia Flag retained the Bonnie Blue white star on a blue background in the top hoist corner, but the majority of the flag was white with a horizontal red stripe on the outside edge and a Magnolia Tree in the center. Mississippi adopted the flag in 1861, and it remained in use among the citizens of Mississippi until 1894, even though it lost its official status at the end of the Civil War.
Retired Mississippi State Flag
In 1894, the Mississippi state flag underwent another redesign, which featured three horizontal stripes of blue, white and red with the Confederate battle flag in the top hoist corner. Although the flag remained in use for more than a century, the Supreme Court ruled that, as a result of a legal oversight, the flag was not officially sanctioned between 1906 and 2001. Despite the ruling, the flag was officially readopted in 2001, following a public vote. However, several cities and counties and all of Mississippi’s public universities had stopped flying it because of the Confederate symbol, condemning it as racist.
The final push for changing the Mississippi flag came from business, education, religious and sports groups, including the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference. In the summer of 2020, amid nationwide protests seeking racial justice, the 1894 Mississippi flag was officially retired.
New Magnolia Mississippi Flag
The law retiring the old Mississippi flag specified that the new design could not include the Confederate battle emblem and must have “In God We Trust.” The public submitted nearly 3,000 flag designs, however, the New Magnolia Mississippi State Flag was the only design on the general election ballot in 2020. Voters were asked whether or not they wished to adopt the new flag, and the majority – 68 percent – voted yes.
A Brief History of Mississippi (The Magnolia State, The Bayou State)
The area of Mississippi was ceded to Britain in 1763, and ceded to the USA, in 1783. It became a Territory in 1798, and a state in 1817. Mississippi was the second state to secede and join the Confederacy in 1861, and was re-admitted to the Union in 1870.
Area of Mississippi: 47,689 sq. miles
Major Products: cotton, soybeans, rice, corn, timber and wood products
Tourism: about 1.5 million visits per year
State Motto: Virtute et armis ("By valor and arms")