It all began with the killing of George Floyd. As Black Lives Matter protestors and rioters took to the streets with torches and rocks, America slipped into dangerous chaos. New phrases such as “systematic racism” were introduced.
Statues of Confederate soldiers were torn off of their bases in attempts to erase history, and anything and everything depicting a confederate flag was desecrated as a symbol of extreme hatred towards humanity.
For states who were on the confederate side of America’s bloody civil war, this caused a problem. Especially if the confederate symbol had been incorporated into their current state flag like it was in Mississippi.
Mississippi’s flag became a hugely controversial issue with residents of a state where many are proud as punch of their southern heritage, regardless of what the Confederacy represented. To them, the confederate symbol is not necessarily as synonymous with slavery as it is with simply being a southern state.
But to the liberal Democrats of the state, and many Republicans as well, the flag has always served as an embarrassing reminder of a checkered past. It had to be changed.
The issue became such a big deal that it ended up on this year’s election ballot. In the end, the voters of Mississippi agreed to replace its flag with one of the new designs that had already been presented. The confederate symbol has been retired and put to rest. The words, “In God We Trust,” will serve as a replacement.
State Rep. Jeramey Anderson of Moss Point, has tried for decades to have the confederate symbol replaced and is finally seeing the culmination of his effort coming to fruition.
“I’m definitely excited to see Mississippians found a need to vote for a more progressive and inclusive symbol that unites the state,” Anderson said. “One thing I said when the House passed the ball is that my predecessor (Billy Bloomfield) worked on this issue for 21 years. I was just the person to press the button.”
“This is not something that just belongs to currently serving House and Senate members. It’s been a long-term process that had so many moving parts,” Anderson added.
With 76% of Mississippi precincts already reporting their votes, 69.6% of the votes were in favor of the change so they went ahead and called it a done deal. as a side-note, Georgia had already removed the symbol in 2001.
After 126 years of flying the state flag, Mississippi is the very last state to make the change. In July, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, in response to the backlash her state was already receiving, ordered the flag to be removed from courthouses and other state buildings.
Bids were placed for a new design to represent the state, leaving it up to citizens to submit any ideas they might have had. The final choice was left up to a nine-person commission after reviewing new flag designs. A design referred to as the “New Magnolia” version, easily won the review by an 8-1 vote over another design called the “Great River Flag.”
The new flag features a blue background with a centered white magnolia flower. There are red bars on each end and the flower is surrounded by 20 white stars to signify Mississippi’s becoming our nation’s 20th state. To signify Mississippi’s Native-American population, one gold star was added at the top. The flag is completed with “In God, We Trust” scrolled across the bottom.
The new flag will in no way change a history that can’t be undone, but it will also no longer serve as a constant reminder of slavery and human oppression. This is one small but important step for mankind, and the good people of Mississippi agree.