Mississippi Asks For Public's Input On How To Replace Confederate Imagery On State Flag

A Mississippi state agency is asking for the public's help in coming up with something to replace part of its flag, after the state decided to remove imagery associated with the Confederacy, ABC News reported.

As reported by The Inquisitr, the Magnolia State's legislature voted in June to retire the state's flag, which had been its official symbol since 1894. At issue was the fact that the flag's canton contained imagery associated with the Confederacy. Specifically, the flag incorporated the Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag. Though never officially the flag of the Confederate States of America -- indeed, most Confederate soldiers, save for those from Virginia, would likely have never seen it -- the "Stars and Bars" has since become colloquially known as the "Confederate Flag." And it had appeared in the upper left of Mississippi's flag for nearly 130 years.

PANOLA COUNTY, MS - JUNE 30: A former Missississippi state flag flies outside of an abandoned store along highway 278 on June 30, 2020 in Panola County, Mississippi. On Sunday, June 28, the Mississippi Legislature voted to abolish the flag with its Confederate battle emblem. Mississippi voters will choose a newly designed state flag during the November 2020 elections. (Photo by Timothy Ivy/Getty Images)
Getty Images | Timothy Ivy

However, critics claimed that the inclusion of the flag was effectively an endorsement of racism, inasmuch as it referenced an army that fought, among other things, to keep slavery legal. And, in the wake of the George Floyd protests, the decision was made to retire the flag.

On June 30, Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill requiring the "prompt, dignified and respectful removal" of the flag.

For now, that means Mississippi is without a flag. However, the state's Department of Archives and History announced Monday that it is looking for new ideas for the state's flag, and it's asking the general public for help.

There are two rules: 1) the new flag must not in any way reference the "Confederate flag," and 2) it must incorporate the words "In God We Trust."

The agency also issued another guideline.

"The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory."
Once the agency has found a flag design that it likes, it will put it before the voters, to be decided on via a ballot referendum on November 3. If the voters don't approve, the commission will start all over, with the same guidelines, and put the matter before the voters again at a later date.

Meanwhile, four other states have flags that display Confederate imagery. As CNN reported, Alabama and Florida both incorporate red bars crossed in a X formation, both reminiscent of St. Andrew's Cross. However, in both cases, evidence seems to suggest that the flags' designers wanted to include nods to the Confederacy. Arkansas' flag once contained three stars, representing the sovereign nations that the territory had belonged to over the centuries. In 1923, a fourth star was added, to represent the Confederacy. And Georgia's flag is currently based on the "national flag of the Confederacy," according to the Georgia Secretary of State's website.