According to reports, voters in Mississippi have approved a public referendum to replace the state’s old Confederate-themed flag – in existence since 1894 – with a new flag featuring a magnolia flower and the phrase “In God We Trust.”
68 percent of voters approved the measure, which sees the current design – blue and white stripes and a Confederate battle flag in the corner – being replaced by a graphic artist Rocky Vaughan entitled “The New Magnolia.” The new flag depicts a magnolia blossom in a field of blue flanked by yellow and red stripes; the magnolia is surrounded by a ring of 20 stars – Mississippi being the 20 state – and the phrase “In God We Trust,”
Lawmakers originally voted to replace the flag in June, and a law that was passed to retire the old flag contained provisions that a Confederate flag could not be a part of the new design, and that the flag must contain the phrase “In God We Trust” as a means of persuasion aimed at conservative legislators who expressed attachment to the old flag.
“The New Magnolia” flag design was elected out of 3,000 submissions, and the public referendum to approve it was included on Mississippi’s November 3 ballot. “The New Magnolia” was the only flag option available to voters, who had only a simple “yes or no” option to choose from. If the vote had failed, a new option would have been presented in 2021; the old flag would not have returned.
A similar vote was put forth in 2001, at which time voters decided to keep the original flag. However, over the years the symbol of the Confederate flag has become divisive in many people’s eyes, with many of Mississippi’s cities and counties – and all of its public universities – no longer flying it.