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Commission approves new state flag design

The flag commission voted 8-1 to choose the New Magnolia flag over the Great River flag.
The flag commission voted 8-1 to choose the New Magnolia flag over the Great River flag.(Source: WLBT)
Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 3:03 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Flag Commission made its choice for a new state flag.

The flag commission voted 8-1 to choose the New Magnolia flag over the Great River flag.

The commission also approved a change to rename the flag to the “In God We Trust” flag.

In November, voters will ultimately decide to either accept or reject the flag commission’s choice.

The flag displays a large Magnolia, Mississippi’s state flower.

Ackerman, Mississippi, native and resident Rocky Vaughan is a graphic designer who first started dreaming up a new flag design seven years ago.

“I didn’t want to overthink this thing. I didn’t want to overthink it all,” Vaughn said. I didn’t want to do homework. I didn’t want to spend nights in the library. I didn’t want to do anything. I don’t need help or research to symbolize the Magnolia State. It’s already there, right?”

The Great River Flag comes in second place from the poll.

The designer of this flag says he pulled his inspiration from the Mississippi Territorial Seal that was made in 1798. He says the red vertical lines represent the three nations that occupied the Mississippi Territory: Spain, France, and Great Britain.

The Mississippi River is also featured along the top of the shield-like design.

Earlier:

JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - The Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag will vote on a new design for the Mississippi state flag Wednesday. The meeting starts at 10:30.

The final selection will be put to a vote Nov. 3.

The previous flag that had a Confederate emblem in the upper left corner and was used since 1894 was retired July 1.

The Mississippi Legislature required that the new design include the words “In God We Trust” and must not include the design of the Confederate Battle Flag. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History was charged to support the commission in its work.

The commission held four public meetings and invited public participation in the process. More than 3,000 designs were submitted and the commission narrowed the choices to two, The Great River Flag (below left) and The Magnolia Flag.

Two designs remain in the running to be Mississippi's official state flag.
Two designs remain in the running to be Mississippi's official state flag.(WLBT)

Here’s how the flags fared in a non-binding online poll:

The public was able to vote in a non-binding poll on the Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History website.
The public was able to vote in a non-binding poll on the Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History website.(Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History)

The Great River Flag design features a shield based on the 1798 seal of the Mississippi Territory below a five-point star on a blue banner. There are twenty marks on the shield: eighteen vertical lines in red representing the three nations that occupied the Mississippi Territory (Spain, France, and Great Britain), and two white river waves representing the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. “In God We Trust” is written in a typeface that would have been used when Mississippi became a state in 1817. Blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice; red presents hardiness and valor.

Each of the five flag designs incorporate a segmented star comprised of diamonds, a reference to the eastern diamondback rattlesnake which is revered in Native American cultures. The star was the added by the commission members. In “The Great River Flag,” the star also represents the five regions of the state.

Whitson wrote, “The Great River Flag endeavors to capture as much of that into one unique image that supports Mississippi’s other meaningful symbols—the mockingbird, magnolia, and others—while standing on its own.”

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 twenty stars represents Mississippi as the twentieth 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.

Copyright 2020 WTOK. All rights reserved.

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