JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippians will have a choice to make about the next state flag design in November. The final design was selected by the commission Wednesday. It is the flag initially called the “New Magnolia Flag” but commission members voted to call it the “In God We Trust” flag.
The Commission to Redesign the State Flag had a short timeline to adopt a design that could represent Mississippi for years to come.
“Mississippians deserved the opportunity to choose between two,” noted commission member and Mayor of Oxford Robyn Tannehill. “I also believe it’s critical that this flag passes in November.”
But the law says just one design will be selected to appear on the ballot. The discussion at the final meeting centered around the New Magnolia Flag and some minor changes like making the font bolder. There was no discussion of the other finalist, the Great River Flag. With a vote of 8-1, the flag with the magnolia in the center was selected.
“We’ll be on the bottom all of my lifetime but my children and grandchildren will see us ascend and it’ll happen because of what you have done to bring this great object to the people of Mississippi to vote on,” said Commission Chairman Judge Reuben Anderson.
“I knew there was something we could all come together and love and that’s what happened today,” said one of the designers Rocky Vaughan. Others who’ve followed the process closely wanted to be there to witness this historic step.
“This flag makes it easier to carry out the Great Commission,” noted Dr. Kenny Digby, executive director of the Christian Action Committee.
“It’s definitely much more inclusive,” described Rev. CJ Rhodes, Mt. Helm Baptist Church pastor. “The old flag was used in the days of segregation and slavery, post-slavery as a symbol to keep certain people down, particularly my people. So, I do think this is a new flag to symbolize a new Mississippi.”
A member of the “Let Mississippi Vote” group says they’re still planning on a ballot referendum that would put four choices on a later ballot: the 1894 flag, the flag adopted by the commission, the Stennis flag and the bicentennial flag that features the state seal.
“We want to include everyone in Mississippi and give them the opportunity in the flag that flies over them so that everyone truly is represented,” said Lauren Smith.
The Alliance for Mississippi organization is a coalition of community, civic and business leaders who believes this is a design that will move the state forward. And say they will work diligently in the next two months to encourage citizens to vote.
The flag will need to receive a majority of the vote in November to become the next state flag. If it does not, the process will start over.