Mississippi Changing Its Flag Isn't the End of Confederate Symbols in State FlagsHistorians in the News
tags: racism, Confederacy, Mississippi, state flags, flags
The Confederate flags
First, let's clear up a common misconception: The crimson and blue flag we usually refer to as the Confederate flag is in fact a Confederate battle flag, most famously used by Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
The actual flag of the Confederate States looks a lot different: It has two red stripes and one white, with a familiar field of stars on the hoist. There were four iterations throughout the Confederacy's short life, with each one bearing different numbers of stars to correspond to the number of Confederate states at the time.
The famed phrase "Stars and Bars," however, usually refers to the original Confederate flag, designed in 1861, which has seven stars arranged in a circular pattern. This is an important flag to remember as you look at some current state flag designs.
Here's something else to remember: Flags, as a national symbol, are a relatively new invention. Marc Leepson, a historian and author of the book "Flag: An American Biography," explains that, up until the last few hundred years, flags and pennants were used most widely for military purposes. (Another fun fact, Leepson notes: The United States had an official national flag years before France. The US adopted its first version in 1777, while France didn't adopt one until 1794, during the French Revolution.)
"For the first third of our nation's history, from about 1777 to 1861, it was almost unheard of for individual Americans to fly the flag. It was mostly flown primarily by the government, mainly by the military, and especially by the Navy," he says.
comments powered by Disqus
- John Hume, Nobel Laureate for Work in Northern Ireland, Dies at 83
- Statue of White Woman Holding Hatchet and Scalps Sparks Backlash in New England
- 'We Always Knew What It Stood For': Small Texas Town Torn Over Its Confederate Statue
- UNC Tenured Faculty Tell Students to Stay Home Amid COVID Concerns: 'It Is Not Safe for You to Come to Campus'
- Counting Down with #19Suffrage Stories: 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment
- Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Women Survivors of the Atomic Bombs
- How White Supremacy Infected Christianity and the Republican Party
- Reaganland Is the Riveting Conclusion to a Story That Still Isn’t Over (Review)
- Returning From War, Returning to Racism
- Remembering Our Friend and Colleague, Professor David H. Bensman