MIA in Capitol: Confederate Battle Emblem Disappears During Recess

When House lawmakers return to Washington from the campaign trail, the corridor they walk through on a daily basis will no longer display the Confederate battle emblem.

The emblem, which was contained in the Mississippi state flag, disappeared from the underground tunnel connecting lawmakers’ offices to the Capitol when the traditional display of state flags was quietly replaced during the fall recess with a new set of plaques reflecting the designs used in the popular 50 State Quarters program.

Instead of the flag with the Confederate battle emblem in its left-hand corner, Mississippi now is represented by a plaque containing the image of the magnolia flower. The latter was used on the 2002 quarter representing the state in the popular U.S. Mint program that ran from 1999 through 2008.

The Mint chose images said to be emblematic of each state. Mississippi’s plaque said the image chosen showcases the “beauty and elegance” of the state flower.

Photos by Nancy Ognanovich

(Left: Confederate imagery remains on the Mississippi state flag, displayed in the Capitol-Senate corridor. Top right: State flags were replaced by new plaques in the Capitol-House corridor. Bottom right: Mississippi's plaque features a magnolia flower. A previous design included Confederate imagery.)

The transformation of the tunnel connecting the Capitol to House offices was occurring at the same time that an effort to erase the Confederate battle emblem from Mississippi’s flag failed when sponsors didn’t get enough signatures to put an initiative to a vote.

That petition drive began after the June 2015 shooting of nine black worshippers in Charleston, S.C. South Carolina subsequently removed a Confederate battle flag from the grounds of its statehouse.

But images of the Confederate flag remain elsewhere in the Capitol complex. A similar underground tunnel connecting the Capitol to Senate offices continues to feature the state flags, including Mississippi’s with a field of red topped by a blue tilted cross dotted with 13 white starts to represent the Confederacy.