Mississippians have a new state flag to vote on in November that features the magnolia flower, after the state earlier this summer retired its flag that featured the Confederate emblem.
On Wednesday, the commission tasked with designing a new state flag voted for “The New Magnolia” flag as the final design for voters to consider on the ballot. If voters in November reject the flag, the commission will have to go back to the drawing board.
The commission picked the flag over another finalist, “The Great River Flag,” which featured a shield that draws inspiration from Mississippi’s 1798 Territorial Seal.
“The New Magnolia Flag” features a white magnolia blossom surrounded by a circle of 20 stars, representing Mississippi’s status as the 20th US state.
The flower is fitting for the Southern state. Mississippi is nicknamed the Magnolia State and the magnolia is the state flower and tree.
“Our flag should reflect the beauty and good in all of us. It should represent a state that deserves a positive image,” Rocky Vaughan, the flag’s designer, said in a statement. “The New Magnolia Flag represents the warmth and strength of the good people of Mississippi. Now is the time we show the world that we’re from Mississippi, the Magnolia State.”
The commission on Wednesday also voted to brand the flag the “In God We Trust” flag.
The magnolia flag represents Mississippi’s “forward progression” and “sense of hope and rebirth” since the magnolia blooms more than once and has a long blooming season, according to a description of the design on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History website.
At the top of the circle of 20 stars is a gold five-point star to reflect Mississippi’s indigenous Native American tribes.
Each of the flag’s colors also holds meaning.
The blue background is an echo of the American flag, “representing vigilance, justice, perseverance.” The red bands at each end of the flag symbolize “hardiness and valor.”
The flag’s gold stripes and magnolia flower’s gold stamen are a “nod to the rich cultural history of Mississippi, specifically the visual arts, literature, music, and performing arts to originate in our state.”
The flag was also the more popular of the two designs in an online poll on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History website, receiving nearly 60% of the votes. It beat out 3,000 other design submissions the commission received and considered for a new state flag.
The final design was submitted on Wednesday to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and the Mississippi Legislature.