What Flag Is That, 02.05.21

A redesign candidate for the flag of the State of Mississippi. Many states have thought about creating a new representation of their state through a redesigned flag. Far too many are the hideous bedsheet with a state seal slapped in the middle. Alas to change a states flag is not an easy matter.

Mississippi’s flag became more and more controversial with it’s large ‘Rebel Battle Flag’ in the canton. People called for a less offensive symbol of the state. But change is not easy when people are emotionally invested in an idea. The state legislature finally agreed to consider new flags in 2020.

Mississippi flag 1894-1996

People had been working on ideas before 2020. In 2014 the artist Lauren Stennis created a new flag that held some promise. People liked it and from a Vexillological standpoint, it was a good flag. It became known as the Stennis Flag.

The red on each side of the white middle stood for the passionate ideological feelings of the people. There are 19 small stars and one large star -Mississippi is the 20th state to join the union.

The Stennis flag was well received and people were lining up behind it. But, controversy came from all sides. Some did not like that the ‘rebel flag’ was gone. Then others did not like the name of the artist who made it. Lauren is the granddaughter of John C. Stennis. Senator Stennis, one of the longest serving senators ever, was a staunch, some would say rabid segregationist. A Democrat who became known as a ‘Dixiecrat’, he voted against 99.9% of all civil rights legislation.

The Stennis name became such a problem that Lauren finally could not stand the threats and problems so she took her name off of any future projects. The flag was renamed “The Hospitality Flag” and many businesses and individuals still fly it.

The governor and the legislature still took action to change the flag. After a protracted debate and the addition of the words “In God We Trust” it officially adopted a new flag on January 11, 2021.

I still like the Hospitality Flag and keep it as an example of the process of change. To quote the imminent philosopher, Garth:

“We fear change”

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