A new design for the Mississippi state flag was chosen on Wednesday, two months after state legislators voted to remove the Confederate battle emblem.
An appointed state commission voted 8-1 on Wednesday for the flag “The New Magnolia” over the flag “The Great River Flag”.
The “The New Magnolia” flag will be presented to voters for approval in November. The Mississippi State Flag Restructuring Commission also agreed on Wednesday to flag “The In God We Trust”.
“The New Magnolia,”
“The new magnolia also represents Mississippi’s sense of hope and rebirth, as the magnolia often blooms more than once and has a long flowering period. The new magnolia is elegant and updated to represent the advancement of Mississippi,” said the department.
Sixty percent of people who responded to an online poll also endorsed the “The New Magnolia” flag.
The Mississippi State Flag Redesign Commission on Wednesday discussed whether to put both finalist flags on the ballot. However, it has been stipulated that if a flag is to be presented to voters in November, they must vote immediately.
If voters reject the selected new design, the State Commission will try again to obtain a new flag to be presented to lawmakers during the 2021 session.
“The New Magnolia” and “The Great River Flag” were among the five finalists announced late last month and selected from nearly 3,000 designs submitted by the public.
“The Great River Flag,” designed by Micah Whitson, contained “a shield based on the 1798 seal of the Mississippi Territory under a five-point star on a blue banner,” according to the state archives division.
Legislators voted in June to change the flag, which has flown for over 120 years, by removing the Confederate battle emblem.
The approved bill called for the flag to be redesigned, removing the Confederate symbol but keeping the slogan “In God We Trust”. The bill was passed after Confederate memorials were removed across the country and amid national protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
Mississippi was the last state in the nation to have a flag with the Confederate emblem.
Among those calling for the flag change was the Mississippi Baptist Convention, which has over 500,000 members in more than 2,100 churches.
And the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference warned that if the Confederate emblem was not removed, SEC championship games could not be held in the state.
Governor Tate Reeves, who approved the flag redesign bill after previously saying the matter should be before the voters, said at the time that the state still needed to bring residents together in support.
“We should under no illusions that a Capitol vote is the end of what needs to be done – the job before us of bringing the state together, and I intend to work for it day and night,” said Reeves as the legislature weighed that Thing from the end of June. “We have to find a way to come together. Heal our wounds, forgive, resolve a page turned, trust each other. With God’s help we can.”