A BANNER IDEA: Vicksburg 10-year-old campaigning for new city flag

Published 3:33 pm Friday, June 3, 2022

The city of Vicksburg is in need of a new flag — at least, that’s what 10-year-old resident Grady Fields is campaigning for.

Fields, an upcoming 6th-grade student at Bowmar Elementary School, has designed a new flag for the city and has plans to go before the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen to make it a reality. The inspiration for the project, Fields said, was his newfound interest in geography.

“When you’re learning geography, flags are a big part of that. Another thing that made me want to change the Vicksburg flag is the Mississippi flag change,” he said. “I realized out of that situation that changes in flags are good to unite people under one thing that symbolizes everyone.”

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Vicksburg’s current flag is a simple design, with the city seal on a field of white. Fields said when he first was inspired to create a flag for Vicksburg, he didn’t even know the city had a flag already — he just had a creative itch.

“One day, I just had the idea to make Vicksburg a flag. I don’t really remember what caused the idea to form, but… now that I’ve seen the flag, I realized that it does need a change,” he said. “Because I just wanted to sketch out this idea, I just looked up on Google, ‘flag maker.’ The website I found is called Tennessine.”

Through templates and fictional flags on the site, Fields came up with his flag design. Each component of the design holds symbolism for the city of Vicksburg’s history and its natural features.

A split field of periwinkle blue and brown-orange reminiscent of Yazoo Clay, the flag features at its center a golden key. The blue and brown-orange halves are bisected by a pale gray line.

“The blue on the top represents the Mississippi River flowing around our city,” Fields said. “The brown symbolizes the land that we’ve based our city on and the key symbolizes when Abraham Lincoln described Vicksburg as the ‘key to the South’ during the Civil War.

“The white line in between is the connection between not only the land and the water, but also the people in the city,” he said.

Fields started a change.org petition, so supporters of his design can sign and share his plan in hopes of bringing more attention to the project.

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. on Friday said he is open to changing Vicksburg’s flag, and admired Field’s initiative, remarking that very few children his age are willing to take up such issues.

“I’m open to the changes,” Flaggs said. “We just have a simple flag, and it has the city seal on it. If the people of this city want to change this flag, I say we go in the direction of the people.”

Fields lives in Vicksburg with his parents, Lauchlin Fields and Olivia Foshee, and his younger brother. He has been an active member of the Boy Scouts since kindergarten. And, he said, he hopes to soon add “flag designer” to his résumé — not just for personal acclaim, but also for the people of Vicksburg.

“I want a flag that can be shown as a symbol the people of Vicksburg can unite behind, for it to be shown as a symbol of pride for Vicksburg,” he said. “So you can know that you’re in Vicksburg and that you’re welcomed here.”