Mississippi governor signs law for new state flag

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi officially has a new state flag, featuring a magnolia and the phrase, “In God We Trust.”

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill Monday at the Two Mississippi Museums to update state law with a description of the flag, his spokeswoman said Friday. Immediately after the signing, officials hosted a ceremony to raise the new flag at the State Capitol.

Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag members and Governor of Mississippi: TJ Taylor, Mary Graham, Sherri Carr Bevis, J. Mack Varner, Judge Reuben Anderson, Governor Tate Reeves, Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben, Mayor Robyn Tannehill, Frank Bordeaux, and Betsey Hamilton.  (Courtesy: Mississippi Dept. of Archives & History)

It has been just over six months since legislators retired the last state flag in the U.S. that included the Confederate battle emblem — a red field topped by a blue X with 13 white stars.

Critics had long said the flag adopted in 1894 was a racist symbol that failed to represent a state with the largest percentage of Black residents in the nation.

Momentum to change the Mississippi flag built quickly last summer as protests against racial injustice were happening across the nation. A commission designed the magnolia flag, and the single design went on the November ballot. Voters approved it by a wide margin. Putting it into law is the final step of making the flag official.

Lieutenant Governor Hosemann said, “From our world-famous authors to the unmatched beauty of our natural resources, Mississippi has always been a place with limitless potential. In ratifying the peoples vote and in raising this new banner, we are signaling to the rest of the world we are ready to realize this potential, we are open for business, and we are living up to our welcoming reputation of hospitality. Today, we take a great step toward making Mississippi an even better place for our children and grandchildren, and for this I could not be any more proud.” 

Philip Gunn, Speaker of the House, shared, “As I talked to people who voted for changing the flag, one question motivated them: ‘Will I be able to look my children and grandchildren in the eyes and be proud of my vote?’ Mississippians answered them loud and clear, once and for all. With an astounding majority we as a state were united in showing the world that we choose to stand on the right side of history. This new flag boldly declares our trust in God, as a state. As we enter into a new year, a new session, may God bless our efforts, and may God bless the state of Mississippi as we set sail under this new flag.” 

Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Frank Bordeaux released the following statement on the adoption of the new Mississippi flag:  

What a remarkable thing to see Mississippi officially raise a flag that guides us forward. Many have worked their entire lives to see this moment through to its fruition, working within Mississippi to change Mississippi. I am grateful to have played a role in this process through service on the flag commission and believe we have adopted a symbol that Mississippians are proud to call their own. May it fly with honor and may those of us under it be proud of what we have achieved together.”

Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Frank Bordeaux

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