GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - History is being made as the Mississippi Flag Commission works to find a new state flag design to put before the voters of Mississippi.
The nine-member panel is charged with selecting a candidate after the legislature retired the controversial 1894 flag last month.
When Governor Tate Reeves signed the bill to retire the 126-year-old state flag with its Confederate battle emblem, it capped a dramatic and sometimes contentious debate in the legislature over the banner. The legislation established the commission to study replacements. Hundreds of possible designs have already been submitted through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Frank Bordeaux, from Gulfport, was one of the governor’s three selections to the commission.
“I’m actually studying some stuff right now. We went through the five principles that go into a good or bad flag design. We learned some terminology and went through some current flags that exist. Some are good, some are bad. They did a good job of explaining it to us,” Bordeaux said.
On Monday, Aug. 3, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History will upload a link to its website for the public to view the designs that have been submitted. The commissioners will each choose 25 flags by August 7, narrowing more than 1,000 entries to a maximum of 225. Commission members will then rank their top ten choices.
During the next meeting on August 14, the commissioners will select five flags for final consideration. Those five flags will be placed on the MDAH website for public comment.
The commission will select the final flag to submit to the governor and the legislature at the September 2 meeting.
The new flag must be void of any Confederate symbolism and must contain the words “In God We Trust.” The hope is the new state flag will appeal to voters and represent all Mississippians.
“I think this is a great opportunity, a historic opportunity to develop something that will stand the test of time and be a unifying symbol for our state to move forward and something all Mississippians can be proud of,” said Bordeaux.
Voters will then decide the ultimate fate of the flag on November 3rd. If it fails to win approval, it’s back to the drawing board for another design which will be voted on next year.
There’s still time to submit your vision for the new state flag. Designs are due by Saturday, Aug. 1, and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.