The Mississippi Flag Commission met Tuesday to narrow choices for a new state flag to five.
These five designs — several of which the commission slightly tweaked on Tuesday morning — will be available for public viewing on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History website later on Tuesday. The commission reviewed nearly 3,000 public submissions for a new state flag design.
Last week, the commission narrowed the field to nine designs and asked for public input in a nonbinding online vote. Commission Chairman Reuben Anderson noted Tuesday that more than 48,000 people voted.
“That shows Mississippians have a tremendous amount of interest in what we’re doing,” Anderson said. “We’re not going to disappoint them. We will put forth the greatest flag we can have.”
Although Mississippi was the 20th state, admitted into the Union in 1817, the finalist designs have 21 stars — to include the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and other indigenous people. Most have a main star that includes a diamond shape, which is a strong Choctaw symbol.
The commission will print the five final designs on flags and fly them in front of the Old Capitol in downtown Jackson on Aug. 25, when it next meets. The commission will select a single design on Sept. 2 to put before voters on the November ballot.
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The Mississippi Legislature, after decades of debate, in June voted to remove the 1894 state flag with its divisive Confederate battle emblem. The legislation it passed created the commission to choose a new flag to put before voters on the Nov. 3 ballot. Voters can either approve or reject the new design. If they reject it, the commission will go back to the drawing board, and present another design to voters next year.
The legislation mandates the new flag include the words “In God We Trust,” and prohibits Confederate battle flag imagery.