JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - If you’ve ever wondered what previous Mississippi state flags looked like, we found out. With permission from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, we used images and information from an article by the late historian David Sansing.
While Mississippi started out with the “Bonnie Blue”, the state flag became red hot with controversy.
From January 1861 to March 1861 the Bonnie Blue Flag was the unofficial emblem of the sovereign state of Mississippi.
Mississippi had not yet joined the Confederate States of America. A committee was formed to design a coat of arms and “a suitable flag.” They came up with what is known as the Magnolia Flag.
After its formal ratification of the Confederate Constitution in 1861, Mississippi became one of the eleven states of the Confederate States of America and authorized the governor -quote- “to have a Confederate flag made and hoisted.”-end quote. That flag was the Stars and Bars.
In 1894, lawmakers adopted the flag that we see today. The Beauregard battle flag which is identified in the public mind, according to Dr. David Sansing, as the Rebel or Confederate flag; resurfacing as a southern symbol of resistance to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960′s, the passions, he writes, that gave it life in the 1860′s were rekindled.
Today, the battle flag is increasingly associated with advocates of white supremacy, and hate groups.
In 1988, the late Aaron Henry, a state lawmaker and president of the Mississippi Conference of the NAACP, introduced a bill to remove the battle flag emblem from the state flag.
The bill was never brought to the floor for a vote. He tried again in 1990, 1992 and 1993.