With the South Carolina shooting and the controversy over the display of a Confederate battle flag near the state’s capital building, I guess I was wondering if Mississippi would be next. I mean next in line for protest and pressure to change its flag. Some of you may be aware that the flag of Mississippi is the last state to employ the Confederate battle flag, located in the canton of its state flag.
Prior to 1861, the state did not have an official flag, but unofficially, the Bonnie Blue was commonly used in the state, which actually came from the short-lived Republic of Florida.
When Mississippi succeeded from the Union, one of the tasks performed at their convention was to create the first official flag which incorporated the Bonnie Blue into the canton, a field of white with a magnolia in the center, and a vertical stripe of blood on the right. This flag served as the official flag until 1865, when at the close of the Civil War its activities were repealed including the flag. Once again Mississippi was without a state flag. Unofficially, the Magnolia and the Confederate battle flag were still used.
Unofficially, the Magnolia continued in use as a state flag until 1894, when the current flag was adopted. The new flag used the Confederate battle flag in the canton with the horizontal stripes descending in blue, white and red. However, in 1906, Mississippi went through a major legislative legal code cleaning, and the law regarding the flag was inadvertently not carried forward into the new code. Without realizing, the flag had inadvertently been repealed. In 2001 the mistake was fixed and the flag was readopted.
This is the flag that continues in Mississippi today. It uses the Confederate battle flag in the canton, which actually comes from the North Virginia battle flag. It is also referred to as the Dixie and the Southern Cross. Equally, the canton of the second two official flags of the Confederacy both used the Dixie.
So here we are in 2015 with protests calling for the removal of the Dixie from it’s place serving at or near a memorial on capital grounds in South Carolina. The flag had already been removed from the actual capital building. Now the call is to remove it from its current location to a museum. I suppose after the next shooting, there will be called to move it to a different museum. So the question remains, will there be pressure to change the Mississippi flag?
Let us suppose there is. Does anyone like the idea of seeing Mississippi return to the Magnolia flag? There is a positive argument to be made for that idea, even though there is a big negative. The negative is that of course the Magnolia was born in rebellion against the United States Constitution. However, despite that, the designers did do something unique in capturing an idea that was Mississippi, and not just a puppet of the Confederacy. In fact, the current flag is a good deal more reminiscent of Confederacy then the Magnolia was… which was actually designed by Confederates. I must say, I honestly think the Magnolia is more uniquely Mississippian than the current. And in fact, with history on its side, it was their first official flag after all.
Ultimately, this is up to the good folks of Mississippi. It is after all their state, and as a federalist, I do believe in the principle of ‘Not my business.’ I still think it could be a good idea though. What do you say? Would it be good for folks in Mississippi to consider returning to their first official and original flag?