Mississippi State Flag



Mississippi Flag History

When Mississippi seceded from the union the Confederate States of America did not exist. And so, like other southern neighbors, Mississippi became a sovereign state. Initially, Mississippians flew the Bonnie Blue Flag, an 1810 flag depicting a single white star on a blue field. January 26, 1861, the Mississippi secession convention adopted an official Mississippi state flag. Referred to as "The Magnolia Flag" the first official Mississippi state flag depicted a Magnolia tree on a white field. This Mississippi state flag also incorporated the Bonnie Blue image in the canton corner. Though Mississippi flew the flags of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865, the Magnolia Flag actually remained the "official" Mississippi state flag for 33 years. In February, 1894, the current Mississippi state flag was adopted by the Mississippi legislature. Because it had been so difficult to distinguish the Stars and Bars from the Stars and Stripes in battle, a new Mississippi state flag came into being. Designed by General P.G.T. Beauregard after the battle of Manassas, the so-called "Southern Cross", the Confederate Battle Flag, became a ubiquitous and potent symbol of the Confederate States. The Confederate Battle Flag consisted of a blue cross (saltier) edged in white on a red background. Thirteen white stars on the cross represented the Confederate states. In 1894, Mississippi adopted the present state flag, replacing the Magnolia Flag adopted in 1861.

The new state flag consists of a "union square" in the canton corner and a field divided into three bars of equal width. The Confederate Battle Flag in the canton corner is referred to as the "union square." The thirteen white stars on the cross (saltier) are "…corresponding with the number of the original States of the Union." The Mississippi State Flag consists of the same three bars of the first Confederate flag, the Stars and Bars, but the top stripe is blue.

These three bars represent the "…national colors." On January 12, 2001, the Governor of Mississippi signed House Bill 524. This bill was precipitated by a series of design proposals intended to remove the representation of the Confederate Battle Flag from the canton corner of the current state flag. The legislature and the Governor decided to put an end to the controversy over the Mississippi state flag and passed a law that would put the design of the Mississippi State Flag to a vote. This vote would determine whether the Mississippi state flag that had flown over Mississippi for 107 years would continue to fly over the state or whether a new design would be raised over the state capitol. The vote was scheduled for April 17, 2001. The new Mississippi state flag design was similar to the 1894 design except that the canton corner color was changed from red to blue and the representation of the Confederate Battle Flag was replaced with 19 small white stars surrounding one large white star. The 19 small stars represented the number of states that were already part of the Union when Mississippi joined in 1817. The large white five-pointed star in the center represented the state of Mississippi. When all the votes were counted the message was clear. The 107 year old Mississippi State Flag would continue to fly over the state. The vote, nearly 2-1, sent a clear message that Mississippians valued the historic symbolism of the 1894 state flag.

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