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What Is the History of the State Flag of Mississippi?

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  • Written By: Emily Espinoza
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 09 December 2016
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The history of the state flag of Mississippi includes the state's secession from the Union, Reconstruction, and a vote in the 21st century to change the old design. Mississippi didn't have a flag on record until it seceded from the Union in 1861 and created one to represent the new sovereign nation of Mississippi. In 1894, the state legislature decided to create a new flag to coincide with the state's place in the reunited country. That flag had served as the official state flag of Mississippi for 107 years when a vote was held on whether or not to change the traditional design.

The decision of the people of Mississippi to secede from the Union prompted the need for a state flag of Mississippi. They initially adopted the Bonnie Blue Flag that had been used by the former Republic of Florida. This flag was simply a blue background with a white star in the middle and was only the official flag for a couple of weeks. The legislature quickly changed it by moving the blue square and white star to the corner of a white background, adding a magnolia tree to the middle and a red bar to the side.

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Once the states were reunited at the end of the Civil War, Mississippi created a new flag with a Confederate battle flag in the corner and a red, a white, and a blue stripe going across it. This flag sent a mixed message about its origin. For example, the Confederate battle flag looked to most people like a symbol of Mississippi's membership in the Confederacy, but the official description of the flag calls it a Union square. There are 13 stars that fill the cross that could symbolize either the 13 original colonies or the 13 states that were a part of the Confederacy.

This kind of ambiguity in the meaning of the state flag of Mississippi led some people to question its validity in the 20th century. In 2001, Governor Musgrove signed a bill, allowing the people of Mississippi to vote to either keep the old flag or change to a new design that would cause less controversy. The new design had the same red, white, and blue stripes, but the corner square changed to a blue background with 19 little stars and one big star which represented Mississippi and the 19 other states that were a part of the Union in 1817. An overwhelming majority voted for the state flag of Mississippi to remain as it had been for over 100 years.

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JimmyT
Post 4

I see the issue as a can of worms that there are very few people that hold the middle ground on the issue.

Intent is the best thing to judge a situation and the intent of putting the Confederate flag inside the state flag is to simply remind people of the heritage of the state.

People point to the COnfederate flag and claim to see hate and oppression and the support of slavery but who supports slavery nowadays? As a matter of fact who supported slavery when the flag was created in the 1890's as the war had been over for thirty years?

They picked this flag because the Confederate flag was not a symbol of slavery but a symbol

of the South during the Civil War. People still use this symbol today to show what kind of a rebel they are or how SOuthern they are not to support slavery.

Of course it is controversial to have a COnfederate flag in a state flag but the voters spoke and showed they did not interpret the flag that way and outsiders to the state can look at the flag and think whatever they want to think about the interpretation of it, because they have decided that its a symbol of the state.

Emilski
Post 3

@jmc88 - To be totally honest I can see your side of the argument, however what harm is the flag causing nowadays as the issue of slavery and the dissolution of the Union in the 1860's was settled one hundred and fifty years ago?

At one time the Confederate flag was seen as a symbol of hate and oppression, however, interpretation of a symbol is relative to the times at hand and the Confederate flag has little bearing nowadays except as a reminder of the past and as a symbol for many southerners to embrace their heritage.

They may not see what the flag was created to depict but I sure bet that they do not see the flag as being

a symbol of hate and oppression. They see it more as a symbol for the SOuth and to be a rebel in the face of authority.

If anything a COnfederate flag simply shows how the interpretation of a symbol can change overtime and show that interpretation is all relative.

jmc88
Post 2

@stl156 - That is your interpretation and you are entirely entitled to your opinion, but my opnion on the whole matter is that by depicting the COnfederate Flag nowadays into the current state flag they are reminding people of a terrible time in history where not only was the country at war with itself, but they were one of the last civilized countries to imcorporate slavery against a particular group of people.

It was a terrible time for America and the flag of the state of Mississippi reminds people of what happened in the histories past. Just because it is a part of the states history does not mean that people have to be reminded of it and the meaning in

the COnfederate flag has no bearing today except as a symbol of hate and oppression.

I hope they someday get rid of this state flag and end the issue entirely so that the state of Mississippi will come to their senses and see that such a symbol should not represent their state.

stl156
Post 1

I find this to be very interesting that the Mississippi state flag has what people see as being a very offensive part of history in it, that being the Confederate flag.

I personally hold no ill will towards the Confederate flag and do not judge people harshly who display it.

My interpretation on the matter in regards to the Mississippi state flag is that it is a vital part of their history and a major part of their heritage as they were a serious participant for the SOuth during the Civil War.

Just because they choose to have a Confederate flag inside their state flag does not mean that they still hold the ideas of slavery that the COnfederacy had and that it is simply a part of history that creates the heritage of many states in the SOuth.

They chose to incorporate this into their flag and came up with a unique falg that reflects their states heritage.

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