Two months after the Mississippi Legislature voted to retire the Mississippi state flag – which prominently featured the Confederate battle emblem – an appointed state flag commission chose a new flag, known as “The New Magnolia” flag, to be placed on the ballot for voters on Nov. 3.
The Pine Belt News reached out to mayors throughout the coverage area to get their thoughts on the flag, which features a magnolia blossom in the middle of a circle of stars with the words “In God We Trust” at the bottom.
The flag is blue in the middle, with two yellow stripes and two larger red stripes on the end.
Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said although he preferred “The Great River” flag over “The New Magnolia,” he is fully in support of the new flag design, and it will have his vote in November.
“I think we have an option that Mississippians can support,” he said. “I think it’s a flag that can represent all of us and serve as a good symbol for our state going forward.
“When a design process starts, there is no possible way that everyone is going to be satisfied, just because everyone has different tastes. But when compared to what we had, this isn’t even a question. Everyone should go out and support the new flag in November.”
Petal Mayor Hal Marx said out of the five flags that made it to the final round of the design phase, he thinks the one that was chosen was one of the better ones.
However, he doesn’t like the way the process was set up by the Legislature.
“So, I probably will vote no, just as a way to protest that the vote was really taken away from the people to vote on the flag that we did have,” he said. “But really, one way or the other, it doesn’t matter to me – whatever flag is chosen, that’ll be our state flag, and I’ll show it respect.”
Sumrall Mayor Heath Sumrall said while he enjoys the magnolia design, he won’t be voting for the flag in November, mainly because he doesn’t like the colors that were chosen.
“The other colors are just too old-looking; I think there should be more color to it,” he said. “I just don’t like it; the colors just need to be a little more upbeat. It’s just kind of depressing, and it needs to be more upbeat.”
Sumrall actually had put together a design of his own, which also featured a centered magnolia but with brighter colors.
“They were red, white and blue colors, of course, but it made it stand out,” Sumrall said. “They had the right concept, but they just had the wrong colors.”
Purvis Mayor Roger Herrin said he is in favor of “The New Magnolia.”
“It’s fine,” he said. “I liked the one that they picked over the other ones. I’ll be voting for it; I don’t have a problem with it at all.
“Things change, and we move with them. At least they gave us a choice, so I’m good with it.”
Lumberton Mayor Quincy Rogers could not be reached for comment.
If voters do not approve of the new flag design, the committee will reconvene to come up with a different design to be placed on a future ballot.