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Mississippi approves flag with magnolia, ‘In God We Trust’

“New Magnolia Flag” | The flag commission made some adjustments to the original design, such as widening the gold bars. Designed by Rocky Vaughan, with design support provided by Sue Anna Joe, Kara Giles and Dominique Pugh.

Mississippi voters have approved a new state flag with a magnolia and the phrase “In God We Trust.”

Posted: Nov 4, 2020 11:11 AM
Updated: Nov 4, 2020 11:12 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi will fly a new state flag with a magnolia and the phrase “In God We Trust,” with voters approving the design Tuesday. It replaces a Confederate-themed flag state lawmakers retired months ago as part of the national reckoning over racial injustice.

The magnolia flag was the only design on the general election ballot, and voters were asked to say yes or no. A majority said yes.

Legislators will have to put the design into law, but they are expected to do that with little fuss because they already did the hard work of retiring a flag that some people wanted to keep.

Mississippi has been without a flag since late June, when legislators surrendered the last state banner in the U.S. that included the Confederate battle emblem — a red field topped by a blue X with 13 white stars. The rebel flag has been used by Ku Klux Klan groups and is widely condemned as racist.

The new Mississippi flag has the state flower on a dark blue background with red bars on either end. The magnolia is encircled by stars representing Mississippi as the 20th state. The flag also has a single star made of diamond shapes representing the Native American people who lived on the land before others arrived.

White supremacists in the state Legislature adopted the Confederate-themed flag in 1894 amid backlash to power Black people gained during Reconstruction.

For decades, the flag was divisive in a state with a significant Black population, currently about 38%. A majority of voters chose to keep the flag in a 2001 election, but several cities and counties and all of Mississippi’s public universities had stopped flying it because of the Confederate symbol. Many furled the Mississippi flag after mid-2015, when a white man shot and killed nine Black people worshiping at a church in Charleston, South Carolina; he had previously posed for photos with the rebel flag.

Until this summer, a majority of Mississippi legislators were unwilling to consider changing the flag because they considered the issue too volatile. Momentum changed as protests broke out across the U.S. after a Black man was killed in Minneapolis police custody. The final push for changing the Mississippi flag came from business, education, religious and sports groups — including, notably, the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the Southeastern Conference.

Angela Reginal, 53, of Pearl, said she voted for the new design. Reginal, who is Black, said the Confederate-themed old flag was “part of history,” and although she said it never bothered her, she believed it needed to be changed.

“For me, if it offends my brother, I think it needs to be changed,” said Reginal, who works in the office of a home health agency.

A white voter at the same precinct in Pearl, Beki Routh, said she voted for the new flag but wanted to keep the old one.

“If you try to erase history, you’re doomed to repeat it,” said Routh, 50, a bank employee.

Joan Martin, 79, a retired registered nurse from Picayune, said she voted for the new flag because “I didn’t have any choice.

“There was just the one thing and I thought it looked pretty and it said ‘In God We Trust,’ so I voted yes on it,” said Martin, who is white.

The law retiring the old flag specified that the new one could not include the Confederate battle emblem and must have “In God We Trust.” Requiring the religious phrase helped persuade some conservative legislators to let go of the old flag.

Taderell Lamont Roberts, 48, of Picayune, goes by his middle name, which was on the name patch on his work shirt for Heritage Plastics, where he’s a foreman. He said he voted for the new flag.

“That old flag to me represented a lot of rebelism, you know, the good old boys,” said Roberts, who is Black. “It never bothered me. ... But is time for a different flag so our new generation can see that all that is in the past, and they don’t have to deal with that. We were brought up to just live with it. But I’m glad that now it’s time for a change.”

The public submitted nearly 3,000 flag designs. A nine-person commission — with members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker — chose the magnolia flag to go on the ballot.

If voters had rejected the magnolia flag, the commission would have designed another flag that still could not include the Confederate symbol and must include “In God We Trust.” That design would have gone on the ballot in November 2021.

Separately, supporters of the old Mississippi flag are starting an initiative that could revive the old flag by putting the Confederate-themed banner and some other designs up for a statewide vote. But they face big hurdles in gathering enough signatures to get their ideas on the ballot, and their efforts could be complicated by limited public interaction during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 500286

Reported Deaths: 9968
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34281537
DeSoto32039402
Hinds31911626
Jackson24466379
Rankin21971390
Lee15501235
Madison14566279
Jones13825242
Forrest13438250
Lauderdale11984316
Lowndes11003188
Lamar10510135
Pearl River9494237
Lafayette8542139
Hancock7727126
Washington7418157
Oktibbeha7139131
Monroe6765176
Warren6679176
Pontotoc6655102
Neshoba6625206
Panola6511131
Marshall6460134
Bolivar6302148
Union601294
Pike5815152
Alcorn5662101
Lincoln5431134
George496579
Scott472198
Tippah468381
Prentiss466581
Leflore4654144
Itawamba4628105
Adams4584119
Tate4579109
Copiah447792
Simpson4440116
Yazoo443687
Wayne439172
Covington428694
Sunflower4235105
Marion4225107
Coahoma4154104
Leake408088
Newton381679
Grenada3703108
Stone359764
Tishomingo359492
Attala331089
Jasper329565
Winston314091
Clay307676
Chickasaw299467
Clarke292194
Calhoun278945
Holmes267887
Smith263350
Yalobusha233347
Tallahatchie226851
Walthall218763
Greene218248
Lawrence212440
Perry205256
Amite204755
Webster202646
Noxubee186440
Montgomery179456
Jefferson Davis171442
Carroll168738
Tunica159439
Benton148438
Kemper141941
Choctaw133326
Claiborne132237
Humphreys129238
Franklin119428
Quitman106428
Wilkinson104839
Jefferson94434
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 815989

Reported Deaths: 15311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1144621915
Mobile723961330
Madison52114694
Shelby37488348
Baldwin37167547
Tuscaloosa35013606
Montgomery34031734
Lee23177245
Calhoun22190476
Morgan20719376
Etowah19774497
Marshall18277302
Houston17333411
St. Clair15967339
Cullman15365292
Limestone15270198
Elmore15126284
Lauderdale14205294
Talladega13783276
DeKalb12598260
Walker11142369
Blount10132175
Autauga9910146
Jackson9819182
Coffee9190191
Dale8874185
Colbert8803201
Tallapoosa7063198
Escambia6755130
Covington6695184
Chilton6608161
Russell626659
Franklin5947105
Chambers5563142
Marion4966126
Dallas4902200
Clarke474083
Pike4722105
Geneva4567126
Winston4493103
Lawrence4286117
Bibb423686
Barbour356576
Marengo337489
Monroe330863
Randolph328263
Butler325396
Pickens314182
Henry311865
Hale310688
Cherokee301660
Fayette291379
Washington251151
Cleburne247160
Crenshaw244075
Clay241268
Macon231763
Lamar219547
Conecuh185753
Coosa179439
Lowndes174464
Wilcox167839
Bullock151644
Perry138440
Sumter132038
Greene126244
Choctaw87827
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More high pressure will move back into our area overnight and into our Friday. This high pressure will bring back into our area some more dry and seasonable weather for a few days.
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