The state is one step closer to a new flag today, as the Mississippi Flag Commission settled on the New Magnolia design. The flag has a dark blue field emblazoned with a magnolia flower, encircled by 21 stars and the statute-mandated “In God We Trust” motto, between yellow and red bands. Mississippians will vote whether to accept the flag in November’s presidential election, with a simple majority vote making it the official new flag of Mississippi.
If the vote fails, however, the slate will be wiped clean, and the commission will return in 2021 to start the process anew. The only constant is the assurance that the flag can depict no Confederate imagery, whatever the ultimate design may be and however many votes it might take.
The vote comes just two months after the Legislature organized a key supermajority coalition to change the flag, suspending the rules late in the session and eliminating Mississippi’s old Confederate banner, which had flown since 1894.
The magnolia flag, now officially titled the “In God We Trust” flag, resoundingly defeated the Great River shield design in the commission’s vote by a margin of 8-1. Both flags survived multiple rounds of winnowing, after Mississippians submitted more than 3,000 designs for the commission’s consideration.
Ricky Vaughn, a graphic designer in Ackerman, Miss., is the primary designer of the commission’s selected flag. Sue Anna Joe, a Greenwood native, is responsible for the magnolia at the center of the flag.
Recent polls suggested popular opinion between the Magnolia and Great River Flag is split evenly. Today, Flag Commission member and Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill suggested waiting to decide between the two flags for a final polling of registered voters, but her fellow commissioner, Mississippi Department of Archives and History Director Katie Blount, explained that absentee-voting requirements demanded a final decision be made