Mississippi had long been one of the few remaining states to have Confederate iconography as part of its state flag, but that will finally change after voters selected a new design during Tuesday’s election.
According to NBC News, the new flag, dubbed “The New Magnolia,” received 68 percent of the vote. The public referendum was a simple yes or no on the new design, which features a magnolia in its center, a wreath of stars surrounding it, and the quote “In God We Trust” at the bottom. Had the public voted no on the design, legislators would have had to commission a new design for the 2021 session, but the old flag would not have returned.
This was not the first time the state voted on changing the flag; in 2001 a statewide vote was responsible for keeping the stars and bars on the flag. The old Mississippi state flag was first chosen in 1894 and featured blue and white stripes with the Confederate battle flag in the corner.
The new flag, designed by graphic artist Rocky Vaughan, was selected by state legislators after 3000 designs had been submitted. State legislators voted in June to replace the flag, following the nationwide protests surrounding the death of George Floyd, and a threat from the NCAA that championship games won’t be played in the state if they didn’t change the flag.
Nothing like threatening that sweet, sweet tourism income to get the ball rolling on doing the right thing.
Mississippi’s Department of Archives and History released a statement saying the new design “represents Mississippi’s sense of hope and rebirth, as the Magnolia often blooms more than once and has a long blooming season.” They added the magnolia in the center is “a symbol long-used to represent our state and the hospitality of our citizens.”
Gov. Tate Reeves (R), who believed changing the flag should be decided by voters, has said that changing the flag isn’t going to solve the divides currently facing the state.
“We must find a way to come together,” Reeves said during the legislative debate regarding changing the flag in June. “To heal our wounds, to forgive, to resolve that a page has been turned, to trust each other. With God’s help, we can.”
I mean, that’s pretty fucking rich coming from a dude—who, just this year—declared April to be Confederate Heritage Month.
White people gonna white people, y’all.