A Mississippi state flag flies outside the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, June 25, 2020. Athletic coaches and their staffs from the state's public universities held a joint news conference and called for a change in the Mississippi state flag. Additionally, several head coaches met with both the lieutenant governor and Speaker Philip Gunn, as well as their lawmakers, to lobby for the change. The current flag has in the canton portion of the banner the design of the Civil War-era Confederate battle flag, that has been the center of a long-simmering debate about its removal or replacement. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Mississippi governor signs bill to retire flag with Confederate emblem
01:59 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Mississippi is getting closer to picking a state flag that residents can vote on in November.

The commission tasked with designing a new state flag selected five final options on Tuesday for the public to weigh in on after the state decided earlier this year to remove the Confederate emblem from their flag.


Three of the flags feature a magnolia flower, Mississippi’s state flower, in the center. On each of those flags, the flower is surrounded by a circle of stars to signify Mississippi’s status as the 20th state.

A fourth flag features a white magnolia tree on a blue background.


Another flag, known as the Great River Flag, features a shield that draws inspiration from Mississippi’s 1798 Territorial Seal. It includes waves that represent the Mississippi River, the Delta and Gulf Coast.


All the options feature the words, “In God, We Trust” – a requisite from the state legislature.

And each design includes a yellow diamond-shaped star to reflect Mississippi’s Native American history and culture.

The tribal chief of Mississippi’s Choctaw Indians, Cyrus Ben, who is on the flag commission, previously said that the symbol is significant to his tribe, seen in clothing, bead work and basket designs, and represents the eastern diamond-backed rattlesnake.


The five flags have been posted on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s website for the public to vote on.

Over the past month, with the help of MDAH, the commission members steadily narrowed down the options from an initial 3,000 submissions, to 146 options, to nine finalists last week.


As of Monday afternoon, over 48,000 initial votes were cast in a public poll for Mississippians to choose their favorite of the nine.

“This shows Mississippi has a tremendous interest in what we’re doing,” commission chair Reuben Anderson said during Tuesday’s meeting. “We’re sure not going to disappoint them. We’re going to give them the greatest flag that we can have.”

MDAH Department Director Katie Blount told CNN on Tuesday that the “level of public engagement has stayed very high throughout” the selection process.

She described the process as “positive” and said that the commissioners, who were selected by Mississippi’s governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker, have “worked together really well” and have listened to each other and the public.

“The back-and-forth (between the commissioners) has been a really important part of the process,” Blount said.

The commissioners will meet again in late August to review what the flags look like on a flagpole. The flags will be flown in front of the Old State Capitol and then opened up to public comment. Each of the designs may have to undergo minor modifications to fit flag proportions.

They’re expected to select the final flag on September 2 to submit to Gov. Tate Reeves and the Mississippi Legislature.

“The main thing is that everybody, the public, needs to know that this is a choice they will have on the November ballot,” Blount told CNN.

Mississippi retired its state flag in June, which had been the last US state flag to feature the Confederate battle flag.