"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."