Mississippi Will Retain Its State Flag

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'Save our flag:' Rallying for the status quo

The Confederate battle flag, or at least parts of it, will continue to fly over Mississippi now that voters have rejected by a 2-1 margin an initiative to replace it. The vote means the state will remain the only one to continue flying a flag that contains symbols of the Confederacy. But unlike in South Carolina, which eventually stopped flying the flag over the statehouse amid threats of economic sanction, Mississippi isn't expected to suffer much more financial hardship over the decision than it already does as the Union's poorest state. Still, supporters were disappointed.

"Our state leaders led the push for this vote, and many of them led the push for the change to a new flag," says Democratic state representative Frances Fredricks. "But if the people don't want to be led, then you have to just leave them there."

The choice was whether keep the current flag, which dates from 1894 and has elements of the Confederate battle flag in its upper-left corner, or adopt a new flag with circles of 20 stars to represent Mississippi's admission as the 20th state.

Now that the 1894 flag has passed referendum, supporters are trying to change state law to give the flag constitutional protection. "There are obviously shadows in our past," says John French, a leader of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who are conducting a petition drive for the constitutional remedy, "but we still don't want to erase our history."