Coast men hope state adopts magnolia design for flag - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coast men hope state adopts magnolia design for flag

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

One of the first things you may notice on Jeremy England's Jackson County home is the flag flying on his front porch. 

For England, the flag that sports a magnolia tree and single star is more than just a choice of decor.

It probably wouldn't have been his choice of flag 16 years ago.

"The very first time I stepped into a precinct as an 18-year-old was to vote for the state flag. I voted in favor of keeping the state flag," said England. 

In the years following that, England, a defense attorney and self-proclaimed Civil War scholar, said his views expanded. He said he began to understand where people could have problems with it.

One instance he says disturbed him was thinking about the civil rights museum opening soon in Jackson. "In those pictures, you're going to see the rebel flag. Then you're going to walk outside the museum and you're going to look up and see the Mississippi state flag and you're going to see the same symbol," said England.

Along with a group of supporters, England believes Mississippi should get back in touch with its roots.

"We're not seeking to adopt a new flag. We're not changing anything, so to speak. We're going back to our original state flag. One that can unite us in Mississippi," said England. 

According to England, the magnolia flag was adopted as the state flag in 1861. "It has historical value and it doesn't have the context that the rebel flag's been given since the Civil War," he said. 

England is working closely with Jefferey Ellis of Biloxi in this effort to restore the magnolia flag.

Ellis believes adopting this flag to be flown instead of the current flag that includes the confederate battle emblem is an ideal solution. 

"We believe reviving the original flag of the State of Mississippi, the 1861 Magnolia Flag is win-win for those pushing for change and the preservationists of our state's history. It's time we move forward and adopt an official symbol all Mississippians can be proud of," said Ellis.

England understands from personal experience that change can sometimes be hard to swallow.

He hopes people will come to agree that there is a solution that can be achieved.

"We don't want to change minds. We want to change hearts in this process. I'm a lifelong Republican, I'm fiscally conservative, I'm socially conservative, I'm an avid student of history and I think it's time we change the state flag," said England.

England hopes to see another vote on the design of the flag soon.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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