Earlier this summer, a call for public submissions for a new state flag for Mississippi, in accordance with the rules, was introduced.
Under the rules adopted by the Legislature, House Bill 1796, the new flag must not contain the Confederate battle flag and must use the words "In God We Trust." The deadline was announced to be August 13 but moved to August 1st to allow time for the selection of finalists process.
More than 3,000 submissions meeting the legislative criteria were reviewed and displayed on a public gallery website, and "The New Magnolia" designed by Rocky Vaughn, Sue Anna Joe, and Kara Giles became the final design to be chosen on September 2.
The current state flag consists of the Confederate battle flag in its canton, with 13 stars that represent "the number of the original states of the Union." It was adopted on February 7th of 1894 when the Legislature replaced the Civil War era Magnolia Flag with a new one designed by Edward N. Scudder.
On June 9, 2020, lawmakers voted to change the state flag of Mississippi, which contained the Confederate battle flag. The action came after weeks of protesting over George Floyd's death; the protest marched outside the Mississippi Governor's Mansion on June 6.
TJ Taylor, a policy aide to Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, suggested calling the flag "In God We Trust Flag," which eventually got adopted by other commissioners and officially became the name.
Reuben Anderson, the first African American to serve on the Mississippi Supreme Court, gave a brief speech after "The New Magnolia" was voted to replace the current flag.
"I grew up in Mississippi in the '40s and '50s, and all of my life Mississippi has been at the bottom, 50th, in whatever category you can think of. Whether income, health care or education, we've always been on the bottom. On Nov. 3, I think that'll start to change. We want to move to the top, but I can assure you we will move. And how in the world is it that Mississippi would be on the bottom with all of the tremendous assets and resources that we have?
"We have the greatest people, the most talented and gifted people, the greatest poets and authors and musicians. We are the birthplace of America's music. We have the most fertile soil. Everything will grow in Mississippi. From cotton to watermelons, to catfish - it'll grow here. We have timber and oil and gas, the Mississippi River, and 90 miles of beaches.
"There's no reason for us to be on the bottom. We will be on the bottom all of my lifetime, but my children and grandchildren will see us ascend, and it'll happen because of what you have done to bring this great object to the people of Mississippi to vote on."
The proposed design of the flag, "The New Magnolia", will be officially adopted as the new state flag during the next legislative session after the referendum happening concurrently with the United States presidential election on November 3, 2020.