In late June—in light of the current racial justice movement sweeping the country—the Mississippi state legislature voted to remove the Confederate emblem from its state flag. Now, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History is looking for a new symbol to represent the Magnolia State, and a surprising contender has caught the public's attention. Thanks to a typo, a design featuring a giant mosquito was briefly in the running to become Mississippi's new state flag, the Clarion Ledger reports.
The proposed design, which consists of a mosquito silhouette surrounded by a ring of stars, was submitted by Mississippi resident Thomas Rosete. He originally came up with the flag as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the state's notorious mosquito population. After seeing the public's response, however, he believes the flag is more fitting than ever. “I believe people from all backgrounds can get behind this and raise it proudly,” he told the Clarion Ledger. “I said something like that in the [submission] email. And now I actually do believe that.”
A typo in a list of flag numbers meant that Rosete's flag was one of the 150 designs that made it to round two of the selection process out of 3000 submissions. Instead of rejecting the irreverent symbol, many people on social media embraced it. At least 50 species of mosquitoes are found in Mississippi, making it an unlikely but appropriate source of pride for the state.
Despite its popularity, the mosquito flag didn't advance past the second round. The Mississippi Department of Archives has narrowed down the pool to two candidates: a flag with a magnolia and one with a shield. The winner will be voted on and chosen on September 2.
[h/t Clarion Ledger]