Could Mississippi end up with two state flags? At this point, anything’s possible.
The Mississippi state flag debate is alive and well in the Mississippi Legislature with several bills directly tied to whether it should be changed to something without Confederate symbolism.
While most are seeking a total redesign of the flag, Rep. Greg Snowden has proposed a solution that hasn’t really been considered until now: Give Mississippi two state flags and let Mississippians decide which one represents them.
Snowden’s bill would keep the current state flag and add the Civil War-era Magnolia Flag as the state’s other official banner, both receiving “equal status and dignity in representing the State of Mississippi.”
The bill would allow for both official flags to be flown individually or together, essentially leaving it up to Mississippians to decide which flag(s) represents them.
History of the Current Flag
The official Mississippi flag was adopted by the Legislature in 1894 and features the Beauregard battle flag, an unofficial flag of the Confederacy used by Mississippi troops thousands of other Confederate soldiers in battle.
Mississippi historian David Sansing wrote about the 1894 flag design, including why the battle flag was included:
According to the best information available, Senator E.N. Scudder of Mayersville, a member of the Joint Legislative Committee for a State Flag, designed Mississippi’s new flag.
In 1924, Fayssoux Scudder Corneil, Senator Scudder’s daughter, stated in an address to the annual convention of the Mississippi Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, that her father designed the flag and included the Beauregard battle flag in the canton corner to honor the Confederate soldier. Corneil recalled:
“My father loved the memory of the valor and courage of those brave men who wore the grey…. He told me that it was a simple matter for him to design the flag because he wanted to perpetuate in a legal and lasting way that dear battle flag under which so many of our people had so gloriously fought.”
It was accidentally repealed in 1906, leaving Mississippi without an “official” state flag on the books for nearly 100 years. After an April 2001 referendum in which 64 percent of Mississippians voted to retain the 1894 design, the flag was readopted as the state’s official banner.
The flag remains a contentious topic among Mississippians and the rest of the country regarding its clear reference to the Confederacy. Mississippi’s public universities no longer fly the flag on their campuses and many towns and cities have removed it from public buildings. Republican Sen. Joseph Seymour recently filed a bill that proposes mandating all public universities to fly the state flag and fining school officials up to $10,000 if they don’t comply.