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The 1861 Magnolia Flag

August 17, 2010

Last week, I noted that the Mississippi NAACP will ask the Southeastern Conference to rule out Pearl as a host site for their annual baseball tournament because of the state flag. Rep. Greg Snowden wrote about the issue on his Clarion-Ledger blog yesterday, and I strongly recommend you check it out.

He makes this very valid point about the 2001 flag vote: “It is my personal opinion that the ‘new’ flag proposed in 2001 was rejected so handily not because Mississippians necessarily are so wedded to the 1894 flag, but because we have a real sense of our history and heritage. We can spot the genuine from the fake, as it were. If you want to replace the old flag, don’t just create an artificial alternative from scratch; rather, find something real from our past to embrace and build upon.”

His solution? How about a return to the ‘Magnolia Flag,’ which was established in 1861, and was the state flag until 1894 when the state adopted the current flag. His point is two-fold: despite being created by a Confederate convention, it does not contain the emblem offensive to the NAACP, but it also has history tied in with- as opposed to the 2001 proposal which was a joke.

From what I have seen, groups who oppose the battle flag don’t seem to have the same concern about less recognizable Confederate flags (even the Confederate national flag). The current Georgia flag is based entirely off of the first national flag of the Confederacy, with the only addition being the state seal in the canton of the flag. This replaced the miserable two-year run of this flag, which actually makes Mississippi’s 2001 flag proposal look decent. Previous to that, the 1956 Georgia flag prominently displayed the battle flag (and somehow Atlanta still got the Olympics in 1996).

As for the politics of this, it’s tough to predict the future, but I don’t see too many Mississippi politicians delving into this issue. The memory of Ronnie Musgrove is still there- and fresh in their minds. Simply put: its political suicide. Will that change? Like I said, it’s tough to predict the future. We have seen the consequences in Mississippi, but the same exact story lines played out in Georgia as well. In 2002, Gov. Roy Barnes (D-GA) was defeated by Sonny Perdue who became the first Republican to hold the office since Reconstruction. By 2004, Republicans had taken over control of the state legislature in the Peach State.

But as Snowden says, the NAACP can’t do a whole lot about the situation, and the truth is they probably turn more people toward the flag just because of their polarizing nature. If and when Mississippians want a new flag, they will get it.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. Barry permalink
    August 17, 2010 3:26 pm

    I wish the Magnolia flag had been on the ballot. I would have voted for it in a heartbeat. It’s a good looking flag with real historical connection to the state. It’s also something I think every Mississippian can be proud of and it actually represents out state very well unlike the current design which any of the former Confederate states could have chosen. Maybe we’ll see her flying proudly over our great state one of these days.

  2. Billy Bearden permalink
    August 17, 2010 7:11 pm

    Y’all are so niave!

    Do y’all really believe that it is just about a flag? Even if this was true, and we are to believe the story that the NAACP opposes the Confederate Battle Flag because of it’s use against Civil Rights by the Klan, then we look at thier actions what do we find?

    The Klan unofficially used, as did some ignorant yahoos during some occaisions, the Rectangle version of the Battle Flag. It flew over the SC and Al state capitols – and due to NAACP pressure, they are now gone.

    However, they have long since been attacking the previous Georgia State Flag and the current Mississippi State Flag – both which incorporated the SQUARE version Battle Flag.

    No hate groups ever used these.

    PLUS the stars are designated on both flags as representing the 13 original Colonies.

    Yet the attacks continue.

    How many former Confederate names have been removed from schools, roads, buildings, parks, bridges, and communities?

    How much more will have to be sacrificed?

    Political Correctness got America into it’s current mess, and it is long overdue that it stop. That the NAACP desires to give awards to Communists is fine – that is thier right. To have them attack my GGGrandfather and his progeny as evil nazi traitors, scum, terrorists and all kinds of evil is plain wrong, and has ZERO to do with ANYONE’s so called Civil Rights

  3. grady harvey permalink
    August 17, 2010 11:12 pm

    Well here we go again, a southern asking for forgiveness for flying that bad old flag. That flag and others in which over 200,000 men women and children died defended are standing up in their graves asking where are the defenders of the south and our honor. I know what the political correct say about what that flag means(slavery, etc. etc.) but I know the real truth. When you have a people in goverment who want to change the way we govern our land you must make anyone who does not agree into a hater and rebel someone deserving of the fate our famiies got Maybe like the burning of our homes, the raping of our women, the military occupation of our land, the stealing of our possessions.Don’t even get me started on Reconstuction. ARISE SOUTHERNERS!! TAKE BACK YOUR HERITAGE AND BE PROUD OF THE MEN WHO FOUGHT FOR THE CONSTITUTION. STAND UP FOR DIXIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Yankee Clipper permalink
    August 18, 2010 1:07 am

    I found this on the CL website pertaining to this issue, take it for whatever you think it’s worth.

    Atillathehun wrote:
    Derrick Johnson sounds to me like a Marxist-democrat agitator with too much time on his hands. His type have to be always stirring up trouble where none exist to further justify destroying the country that has allowed them to prosper. This guy is a loser trying to bring everyone of all races down to his level of incompetence.8/17/2010 11:59 PM CDT on

  5. Barry permalink
    August 18, 2010 9:48 am

    Billy: I see no reason for insults, and I am not naive. I just happen to like the Magnolia flag and its connection to our state’s history without being polarizing. I’m a life long conservative, republican, and proud member of the NRA. Given some of the statements on this and other forums, I’m beginning to regret my vote for the current flag.

  6. RandomThoughts permalink
    August 18, 2010 9:52 am

    Billy really? I hate to break it to you, but a square is a rectangle. Although I know what your trying to say but the fact that the Klan used a rectangle version (the Naval Jack) of the flag, and the MS and GA flags incorporated the square version (the battle flag) is not the point. If a person finds the flag offensive they find what it symbolizes to be offensive not the shape of it. Also, as for the 13 stars on the battle flag they represent the 13 southern states, not the colonies (the CSA included Kentucky and Missouri in the talley although they never officially seceded.

    Grady, how in the world do you claim that the men of the CSA “fought for the constitution”? The confederate states left the union, tore up the constitution, and wrote a new one. You can have your opinions about the nobility of the cause etc. but to say the South was fighting for the constitution is just wrong.

    That said put me on the record as this being a waste of time. Mississippi voted on the issue a few years back and voted to keep the flag. And there are much more important issues to be focused on right now than to get distracted by flag talk.

    • Dontreadonme permalink
      August 18, 2010 7:19 pm

      Randumb thoughts, A square is a square and a rectangle is not a square.

      • RandomThoughts permalink
        August 31, 2010 6:37 pm

        Obviously you wouldn’t do too good on “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” Every square is a rectangle. Not every rectangle is a square.

    • joe somers permalink
      August 31, 2010 9:17 pm

      A vote has been taken and by a margin of 3-1, the great people of the state of Mississippi decided to keep a flag to identify with their culture and heritage and never, ever allow the naacp or any other anti-American try to force a re-vote, that is communist and un-American!!!

  7. Cindy Rambeau permalink
    August 18, 2010 1:32 pm

    Billy, Many Thanks for trying to Educate Folks on the Truth about the Confederacy. You know there are Thousands of People who read your writings everyday, and we all stand behind YOU!

    These folks giving you a hard time, don’t even know who they are talking to. God Bless You, Billy! Cindy Rambeau V. Pres. Dixie Outfitters FBook.

  8. Billy Bearden permalink
    August 18, 2010 5:31 pm

    Random Thoughts

    No, really – look at the description given to the Mississippi State flag by LAW – Colonies my friend…

    C. 3-3-16. Design of state flag.
    The official flag of the State of Mississippi shall have the following design: with width two-thirds (2/3) of its length; with the union (canton) to be square, in width two-thirds (2/3) of the width of the flag; the ground of the union to be red and a broad blue saltire thereon, bordered with white and emblazoned with thirteen (13) mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding with the number of the original States of the Union; the field to be divided into three (3) bars of equal width, the upper one blue, the center one white, and the lower one, extending the whole length of the flag, red (the national colors); this being the flag adopted by the Mississippi Legislature in the 1894 Special Session.

    Square and Colonies, not touched by the Klan and by definition, not a Confederate Flag at all, but then again as you say, those with agendas care nothing about historical or current facts – just EMOTIONS


    Insults? Being called naive? Or the ignorant yahoo part? I have reread my post 4 times and can only say if you didn’t oppose civil rights with a Battle Flag, then I haven’t insulted you.

    • RandomThoughts permalink
      August 31, 2010 6:52 pm


      Interesting point but it raises a more interesting question. The statute you provided was adopted after the referendum in 2001. The current flag was voted on by the Legislature in 1894. So one would have to look at the 1894 description of the flag to see if the stars were really meant to symbolize the original 13 colonies. My guess is in 1894 the Legislature did not say the stars represented the original 13 colonies, why would they? Mississippi wasn’t even one of the original colonies. My guess is this language was included in the 2001 referendum to “rewrite history” to say the stars represent the colonies and not what they really represent – the confederate states.

      • RandomThoughts permalink
        August 31, 2010 7:08 pm

        I just found the original senate measure in 1894 adopting the flag and stating the stars represent the “original colonies.” Very interesting

        • August 31, 2010 8:40 pm

          “The committee to design a State Flag was appointed by legislative action February 7, 1894, and provided that the flag reported by the committee should become the official flag. The committee recommended for the flag “one with width two-thirds of its length; with the union square, in width two-thirds of the width of the flag; the ground of the union to be red and a broad blue saltier thereon, bordered with white and emblazoned with thirteen (13) mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding with the number of the original States of the Union; the field to be divided into three bars of equal width, the upper one blue, the center one white, and the lower one extending the whole length of the flag. ”

        • August 31, 2010 8:42 pm

          Two things about the 13 “mullets or five-pointed stars:”

          1) I don’t think anyone doubts it looks exactly like the Battle Flag and that is not a coincidence.

          2) I do however wonder why- in 1894 during the era of the Lost Cause- the legislature felt the need to say they represent the 13 colonies if they felt otherwise. I don’t think they were worried about being politically correct or offending the NAACP.

          • RandomThoughts permalink
            September 1, 2010 10:34 am

            Brett, That is what is so interesting about the language the Legislature used in 1894.

            The stars in the confederate battle flag represented the 13 confederate states not the 13 colonies – all historians seem to agree on this. Prior to 1862 the battle flag had 12 stars (before Missouri was admitted). So here you have a flag whose stars mean one thing, and everyone knows what they mean, that gets incorporated into the state flag roughly 30 years after the civil war – and after reconstruction. Then when the legislature incorporates the battle flag it changes the meaning of the stars.

            You’re right that one wouldn’t think politicians were worried about political correctness or social groups which weren’t even around; however the legislature in 1894 chose to “rewrite” history and use the same flag and say the stars now mean the original 13 colonies – not the confederate states. Why they did that is the million dollar question which will probably never be answered.

  9. Barry permalink
    August 19, 2010 9:23 am

    Yes, you insulted me. Children are naive; I am not naive. No one posted anything naive here, just opinions different than yours. I like the Magnolia flag and just happen to agree with Brett. It’s just that simple.

    However, I do find your position on this puzzling and contradictory. In your first post you say the current MS flag iincorporated the confederate battle flag and in you next post you state it is not a Confederate flag at all (Square and Colonies, not touched by the Klan and by definition, not a Confederate Flag at all). I’m willing to bet you’re not even from Mississippi and have some another agenda. Quite frankly, I’m tired of this topic and am done with it. I’ll vote for the Magnolia Flag if ever given the opportunity.

    USMC (ret.)

  10. Princess Sophia permalink
    August 20, 2010 9:00 am

    The argument that just because the Klan used something, it is to be forever tainted is ridiculous. The NAACP has supported a lot of stupid things and their thinking is way off so it’s time to ignore them. I bet they use regular coffee cups too….should we ban those? Or maybe we could ban white bed sheets as well.
    I remember an article written by a black Law student from Tulane I believe that really hit the mark. The NAACP was spending a lot of time trying to make sure the Liberty Monument didn’t get put back up. (It’s sort of a second place trophy from the Civil War.) This young lady wrote the article in honor of black history month. In the article she pointed out that when the monument was originally put up two black Congressmen came over from Mississippi to the dedication. They said they’d fought on the side of the South proudly and would do it again.
    Leave the flag as it is and worry about the things that matter.

  11. steven hayes permalink
    August 22, 2010 2:08 pm

    this to barry move your butt back up north-PLEASE

    • Barry permalink
      August 24, 2010 1:35 pm

      This is to Steven.

      No thank you, Steven. I’ll stay right here in Mississippi where I was born and raised.

      By the way, sentences start with capitol letters as do proper nouns (also referred to as proper names). You might also consider a period at the end of your sentences. We wouldn’t want you perpetuating any ignorant stereotypes.

  12. Bill permalink
    August 30, 2010 1:31 pm

    Barry, I agree with you. My great-grandfather fought for the Confederacy, and I am proud of him for doing it. He was defending his land. But that being said, I know enough about him to believe that he would not be hung up on something like this. After all, the Magnolia Flag was adopted by Mississippi at secession, and it flew over the state until 1894. This is not about historical revisionism; it is all about history.

  13. david brazil permalink
    April 13, 2011 4:35 am

    The Magnolia flag should have been on the ballot……..but no matter what flag we adopt in Mississippi,…someone will “hate” it……….We have given the blacks,NAACP and all other orgs of this nature everything that they have wanted in the last 50 years……..but they are not going to take my heritage from me…let the people vote,as they did in our State.The people will decide…….put it to vote and the issue is closed. David Brazil…..

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