On November 3, 2020, Mississippi voted on the In God We Trust (New Magnolia) flag to replace the old flag, Afterward, it was passed by the state legislature on January 6, 2021, and it became the official state flag of the U.S. state of Mississippi on January 11, 2021. The former flag was adopted by Mississippi in 1894, replacing the flag that had been adopted in 1861. It was the sole remaining U.S. state flag that bore the Confederate battle flag's saltire, from Georgia's adoption of a new flag in 2003 until the Mississippi flag was officially retired on June 30, 2020.

History[edit | edit source]

Prior to 1861, like most states, Mississippi had no state flag. When Mississippi declared its secession from the Union on January 9, 1861 near the start of the American Civil War, spectators in the balcony handed a Bonnie Blue Flag down to the Session Convention delegates on the floor, and one was raised over the capitol building in Jackson as a sign of independence.

The first official flag of Mississippi was known as the Magnolia Flag. It was the official flag of the state from 1861 until 1865 and it remained in use as an unofficial flag until 1894, when the current flag was adopted. On January 26 the delegates to the Secession Convention of the newly formed Sovereign Republic of Mississippi approved the report of a special committee that had been appointed to design a coat of arms and “a suitable flag.” The flag recommended by the committee was: “A Flag of white ground, a Magnolia tree in the centre, a blue field in the upper left hand corner with a white star in the centre, the Flag to be finished with a red border and a red fringe at the extremity of the Flag.” Due to time constraints and the pressure to raise “means for the defense of the state” the delegates actually neglected to officially adopt the flag in January, but did so when they reassembled in March.

The Magnolia Flag was not widely used or displayed during the Civil War, as the various Confederate flags were displayed more frequently. The Magnolia Flag remained the official state flag of Mississippi until 1865, when following the conclusion of the Civil War, a constitutional convention assembled in Jackson on August 22 began to revoke and repeal many of the actions taken by the Secession Convention of 1861. Among those repealed was the ordinance adopting a coat of arms and a state flag, leaving Mississippi without an official flag.

On February 7, 1894, the Legislature replaced the Civil War era Magnolia Flag with a new one designed by Edward N. Scudder. This second state flag consisted of three equal horizontal tribands of blue, white, and red, with the canton of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. The 13 stars on the state flag officially represented "the number of the original states of the Union"; though they are sometimes thought to have been for states that seceded from the Union, plus Missouri and Kentucky which had Union and Confederate governments.

2001 referendum[edit | edit source]

2001 proposal (not adopted)

On April 17, 2001, a non-binding state referendum to change the flag was put before Mississippi voters. The proposal would have replaced the Confederate battle flag with a blue canton with 20 stars. The outer ring of 13 stars would represent the original Thirteen Colonies, the ring of six stars would represent the six nations that have had sovereignty over Mississippi territory, and the inner and slightly larger star would represent Mississippi itself. The 20 stars would also represent Mississippi's status as the 20th member of the United States. The new flag was soundly defeated in a vote of 64% to 36% and the old flag was retained.

2020 debate[edit | edit source]

In late June 2020, after mounting opposition to the state flag due to its inclusion of Confederate symbolism, Mississippi officially retired the flag and the state's governor announced that a new flag without Confederate imagery would be adopted. Later that month, Governor Tate Reeves appointed nine people to a commission to decide a new state flag for Mississippi. Using public submissions, the commission would determine the state flag by narrowing down the proposals until one has been decided, and then submit it to the state congress.

Proposals for a New Flag of Mississippi[edit | edit source]

United States
States and federal district


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