While in Georgia, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the 2001 state flag had been replaced. The flag had been adopted by the state legislature in 2000, and signed in to law by Governor Roy Barnes on 31 January 2001. It came about when the state government gave in to pressure groups who felt the old flag (the flag I was born under) was offensive. (It contained the Confederate States of America battle flag)
Apparently, I'm not the only Georgian who did not like the 2001 flag. In 2002, Sonny Perdue was elected governor of Georgia, partially on the platform of allowing Georgians to choose their own flag. In 2003, Perdue authorized the design of a new flag, and placed it against the 2001 flag in a referendum. The 2003 flag received 74.3% of the vote*, and was signed in to law on 08 May 2003.
*Note that the most widely preferred flag, the 1956-2001 flag, was not included in the referendum.
Here are Georgia's official state flags from 1920 to present:
A.D. 1920 to 1956
Simple and tasteful. Intentionally reminiscient of the first national flag of the Confederate States of America.
A.D. 1956 to 2001
The flag that I was born under. In 1956, the Georgia state legislature adopted this flag as a reaction to the Brown versus Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision. The flag abandoned the previous design and incorporated the Confederate battle flag. In effect, the legislature was saying that it was "ready for a fight."
A.D. 2001 to 2003
If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. This is a prime example of political correctness politics. Most Georgians did not want to change the state flag, but pressure groups (most notably the N.A.A.C.P.) declared the previous flag offensive. To be honest, it was offensive. ...but I say again, if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.
Regarding its aesthetics, what kind of flag incorporates five flags within a flag?!?
A.D. 2003 to present
This, like the 1920 to 1956 flag, is simple and tasteful. It is still offensive (because it's even more similar to the first national flag of the Confederate States of America), but not as offensive as the 1956 to 2001 flag.
To be honest with you, I liked the 1956 to 2001 flag because it was the one that I was born under. I think the 1920 to 1956 flag is the classiest, and that the newest flag is a nice compromise.