One year later: State flag retired in State Capitol ceremony

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 8:54 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A year ago today, the 1894 flag flew for the final time over the State Capitol.

‘Put it in a museum’ is a phrase that was shouted at rallies and protests for years. A year later, after the retirement ceremony, the largest of the three flags from the Capitol grounds is on display in the Museum of Mississippi History. And we got a peak at the collections room where the flags flown over each chamber are now kept for preservation.

“They are stored in these large cabinets with flat drawers,” explained Nan Prince, Director of Collections, Museum Division. “So, we keep them as flat as possible. They’re so big we do have to fold them but we pad out the folds with acid free tissue paper. We also maintain proper humidity and temperature controls in this room as well as light controls.”

House Speaker Philip Gunn first publicly expressed his desire to see the flag changed five years prior. So, I asked what it was like for him to watch it get brought down.

“There was a sense of relief, I guess, that to know where we had gotten to the point where that had been accomplished,” described Gunn. “It was a moving occasion to stand there and watch it come down, knowing we had done something that will put Mississippi in a more positive light. Very rewarding to be able to participate.”

Sen. Hillman Frazier lobbied for years for a flag change.

“Overjoyed... overwhelmed by the emotions of that day,” noted Frazier. “And also seeing the pride as my colleagues that we finally did something together to move the state forward.”

Both men mentioned the new chapter for the state ushered in that day. So, who’s to thank?

“No one person changed the flag,” said Gunn. “It was a joint team effort not only by people in the Capitol but people outside the capitol. A lot of business interest, community leaders, religious leaders, all of whom came together to advocate for this change.”

“The youth movement really made it happen because they made us understand that we were dealing with their future,” added Frazier. “And they wanted something to be proud of. So, that was very impactful.”

Something to note about the collections room at the Two Museums, the very first In God We Trust flag to fly over the Capitol is stored in a drawer adjacent to those former flags.

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