Tag Archives: mississippi state flag

5 CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD FLAGS

JULY 21, 2018

The Winter Olympics and the World Cup have come and gone. We saw a lot a flags. Some are really beautiful, and some are really ugly. So what makes a great flag?

The answer to that question can be found in a great little booklet compiled by Ted Kaye and published by the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA). Here are the five basic principles to create an outstanding flag for your organization, city, tribe, company, family, neighborhood or even country:

1. Keep It Simple – the flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory;

2. Use Meaningful Symbolism – the flag’s images, colors or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes;

3. Use Two or Three Basic Colors – Limit the number of colors on the flag to three, which will contrast well and come from the standard color set;

4. No Lettering or Seals – Never use writing of any kind or an organization’s seal; and

5. Be Distinctive or Be Related – Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections.

It may surprise some people, but quite a few cities in Mississippi have a flag. A first-time visitor to the annual conference of the Mississippi Municipal Association will see an opening ceremony featuring a parade of over two dozen flags. Jim McIntyre, owner of A Complete Flag Source in Jackson, Mississippi, says that a flag is a symbol of pride. He advocates more use of city flags by communities around the state, especially at entrances to cities and at every public building.

Under Mayor Kane Ditto’s administration, the City of Jackson went through a flag creation process featuring substantial community input and involvement. People submitted ideas and designs and a flag was adopted. It has a green background and features single vertical and horizontal white lines with a gold star in a blue circle at the intersection of the lines. The lines represent Jackson’s location at a major national crossroads, while the star symbolizes the city’s designation as the capital of the state. The flag was certainly successful from a design standpoint. It impressed the members of NAVA so much that in its 2004 American City Flags Survey Jackson’s flag placed 12thout of 150 flags. According to NAVA Web site, NAVA members preferred simple, brightly-colored, and distinctive flags; they scorned flags with complicated designs, city seals, or writing

Flag of Jackson, Mississippi

Symbolism is important to flag design. The booklet referred to above provides plenty of examples of proper and improper use of symbolism. Take Italy’s flag, for example. It has three vertical stripes – one green, one white and one red. The vertical orientation is just the opposite of many European flags, which have their stripes displayed horizontally. Italy’s flag design symbolizes a challenge to the ruling kingdoms of Europe. On the other end of the symbolism scale, Libya’s flag is solid green to symbolize Islam. It is so simple, according to Ted Kaye of NAVA, that it does not represent a country, and when shown in black and white it had no meaning.

One of the things to avoid in flag design is the use of writing or seals. South Dakota’s flag, which uses a seal and writing, is the example of a bad flag. The name of the state actually appears twice on the flag. South Carolina’s flag, which depicts a white crescent and a palmetto on a field of blue, is used to illustrate a good flag having no lettering or seals.

I cannot resist pointing out the Virginia state flag. The flag of the state that is “for lovers” has a woman warrior, with one breast exposed, standing with one foot on the on the shoulder of a male fallen warrior. The flag is on a field of dark blue and contains the seal of Virginia with the Latin motto “Sic Semper Tyrannis” – “Thus Always to Tyrants”. The two figures are acting out the meaning of the motto. Both are dressed as warriors. The woman, Virtue, represents Virginia. The man holding a scourge and chain shows that he is a tyrant. His fallen crown is nearby. It was adopted in 1776.

Flag of Virginia.svg

Finally, the flag of the United States of America is not only rich with symbolism in its design, it is one of the few – perhaps the only – flags in which the flag itself is the subject of the national anthem of the country. So here’s to the Star Spangled Banner.

Flag of the United States of America

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More info on how Mississippi voted for state flag in 2001

The following is republished by permission from Jere Nash, co-author of Mississippi Politics. The last sentence adds insight to the fact that a majority of Mississippians voted to keep the current state flag.

 

As debate continues about what to do with the Mississippi Flag, I wanted to highlight some of the information Andy and I included in our 2006 book about the April 17, 2001 special flag election. More Mississippians went to the polls that day than voted in the 1999 governor’s election. The 1894 flag prevailed over the alternative new flag by 494,323 votes to 273,359. Of the 1,311 majority white precincts in the state at the time, only 43 supported the new flag. Of those precincts, eighteen were in the Jackson metro area and twelve were in university towns. According to the 2000 Census there were 43 precincts with no African American residents, and the margin in those precincts in favor of the 1894 Flag was 5,887 to 221, or 96.4 percent. In the 408 precincts which had 50 or fewer African Americans, the margin in favor of the 1894 Flag was 89,112 to 8,014, or 91.8 percent. Only two precincts at the time had no white residents. The margin in favor of the new flag in those two precincts was 421 to 5, or 98.8 percent. In the 94 precincts with 50 or fewer white residents, the margin in favor of the new flag was 23,098 to 1,115, or 95.4 percent. Our analysis of all the precincts showed that 90 percent of white voters supported the 1894 flag and 95 percent of black voters supported the new flag design.

Mississippi State Flag Column from 2001 (just before vote on state flag change)

Look out! Red and Fred tackle the volatile flag issue

From the Ground Up

Once again we find Fred and Red at the Main Street coffee shop discussing issues of the day and other serious matters, such as whether the unseasonably warm weather will last through the weekend.

Fred: I see you’ve installed one of those banner flagpoles on your house.

Red: I’ve been meaning to do that a long time. Last Veterans Day I looked around, and all my neighbors had those little flag banners stinking out from their houses or sprouting from trees in their front yards. One neighbor has his son’s high school banner, another has one with an acorn on it, and the lady across the street has a big yellow one with a tennis racket on it. I decided it was time for me to show off what I believed in.

Fred: So you went and bought an American flag kit?

Red: More or less. That big appliance store was giving them away with the purchase of a new big screen TV. I needed a new TV. Figured I might as well kill two birds with one stone.

Fred: But you aren’t flying the American flag? You’re flying the Mississippi flag?

Red: Now there you go Fred, showing your ignorance again. Pass some of that artificial sweetener this way, please sir.

Fred: You have managed to confuse me this morning, Red. I thought you said that Veterans Day brought out the American in you, so you went and got an American flag. Now you are flying a Mississippi flag.

Red: The weather has got your ears messed up. I didn’t say that at all. I said that on Veterans Day I got to thinking about getting a flag. The appliance store gave me a choice — an American flag or what used to be the Mississippi flag. According to the Mississippi Supreme Court, Mississippi does not have a flag. So, let’s just refer to it as the “Flag Formerly Known as the State Flag of Mississippi.”

Fred: I haven’t seen you this emotional about something in a long time.

Red: This flag thing did it. Not only am I flying the “flag formerly known as the State Flag of Mississippi” on my house, I am sporting a new bumper sticker on my pickup that says, “Preserve Mississippi’s Heritage.” It’s time to take a stand on this issue.

Fred: Good for you. People should stand up for what they believe in.

Red: That’s right. Do you want a bumper sticker? I’ve got a half dozen of them.

Fred: No thanks.

Red: Why not? Your grandfather fought at Vicksburg. You’re a bona fide ancestor of a Confederate veteran. Aren’t you proud of your heritage? And shouldn’t people stand up for what they believe in, like you just said?

Fred: I’m very proud of my heritage and I love Mississippi. But I’m not going to put one of those bumper stickers on my vehicle. And I’m a descendent of a Confederate veteran, not an ancestor.

Red: Whatever.

Fred: This flag thing is really getting some people riled up, isn’t it?

Red: Man, you are not kidding. People are tired of having things shoved down their throats. This is one time we can make a stand.

Fred: Some people might say that the old Mississippi flag was shoved down their throats.

Red: Well then they can just vote for a new one, if and when we have a vote that’s going to cost $3 million. Ask the server to bring us some more coffee, will you?

Fred: I applaud you for standing up for what you believe in. You obviously have strong feelings about it.

Red: (standing up) Oh my gosh, look at the time. I told the wife I would bring home some butter. She’s baking a cake for the church bazaar tonight. I better get going. Now, you are going to vote, aren’t you?

Fred: Of course.

Red: Good. I’m glad we’re finally having freedom of choice. Isn’t that what everybody wanted — freedom of choice?

Fred: Um hmm.

Red: Well, tell everybody to vote for “The Flag Formerly Known as the State Flag of Mississippi.” And tell them to call me if they need a bumper sticker.

Fred: I’m not voting for the “Flag Formerly Known as the State Flag of Mississippi.”

Red: (sitting back down and leaning forward) My gosh, Fred. Don’t say that so loud. Somebody might hear you. Are you feeling okay?

Fred: I feel fine. It’s just that if more people vote for “The Flag Formerly Known as the State flag of Mississippi” then we will be worse off than we are now.

Red: What in the devil’s name are you talking about? The best flag wins. Whichever one. And that will be it.

Fred: I’m afraid not, Red. If the old flag wins then I fear we will see people filing lawsuits, marching in the streets, telling others not to have their conventions in Mississippi, and talking on national television about how we can’t get away from our racially-troubled past. Not only that, some people say that economic development will be hurt. How do you think some company is going to feel if they announce a new plant in Mississippi, then get a visit to their annual stockholders’ meeting by some group wanting to boycott Mississippi?

Red: That’s a scare tactic, and you know it, Fred. What we have here is pure and simple — some people want one flag and some people don’t want it. An election by the people is the way to decide it, and the vote is final. Loser goes home.

Fred: So you think this is all about choice?

Red: Absolutely. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Fred: Sorry, Red. This isn’t about choice.

Red: So, what’s it about?

Fred: It’s about peace.

Phil Hardwick’s column on Mississippi Business appears regularly in the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is phil@hardwick.com.