Mississippi chooses New Magnolia as state flag

Old flag, which featured Confederate emblem, toppled after George Floyd’s death

Voters in Mississippi reportedly chose “The New Magnolia” as their new state flag Tuesday night, replacing a 126-year-old banner that incorporated a version of the Confederate battle flag.

The new design, according to NBC News, got 68 percent of the vote in a public referendum. The new flag is anchored by a magnolia blossom in the center, “a symbol long-used to represent our state and the hospitality of our citizens,” according to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

The Mississippi legislature is now clear to formally adopt it as the new state flag. If the design had been rejected, the process would have started over and voters would again face a decision on the matter in a future election.

Mississippi’s now-retired flag, widely considered a symbol of white supremacy and oppression, was flown for 126 years, according to reports, and getting it changed has been an uphill battle.

A referendum to replace the banner failed 19 years ago, along with several other efforts through the years by national sports leagues and advocacy groups.

But state leaders changed course during the protest wave that emerged across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in May, feeling increasing pressure from the public to make the issue a priority.