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Modern American Protest and Message Flags

        Accepting the notion that many of the flags used by the British Colonists prior to the American Revolution and many of the secession flags of the American Civil War can be considered "Protest Flags," I ignore them on this section as they are featured in their own individual sections of this website, and concentrate on the lesser known and more modern flags of either protest or message flags used by Americans today. It also should be noted that some of the flags on this page can't be considered either "protest" or "message" flags, they are rather "aspiration" flags. By this it is meant that it is the manner in which they are used that determines what they are. For example, a peace flag reflects an aspiration and it only becomes a protest flag when used that way, otherwise, it remains just a peace flag.

Image by Rick Wyatt
The UNIA Flag

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
UNIA Flag Variant #1

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
UNIA Flag Variant #2

Black Liberation Flag 1920

The Black Liberation Flag, also known as the Afro-American Flag, Pan-African Flag, and the UNIA Flag, is a symbol of African and African-American unity and pride. In the 1960s this flag became a symbol of Black liberation in the United States. This design was first adopted in 1920 as the official banner of the African Race at a meeting of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) held in New York City.

This flag uses what is known as the pan-African colors (red, black and green). The red represents the blood shed in the struggle for liberation. The black color represents the Black race, the green color represents the natural resources of Africa from where the Black race comes from. The flag has also been called at various times the Marcus Garvey flag, the Black Nationalist Flag, the African National Flag, the New Afrikan Liberation Flag, the African-American Flag, the Universal African flag, and the International African Flag.

The second flag shown (Variant #2) is an African-American flag which uses the colors introduce by Marcus Garvey, but uses them in a different order. This black-red-green flag first appeared on a stamp issued by the United States Postal Service in 1997 to commemorate Kwanzaa, the African-American yearly celebration. Since then, it has appeared in the African-American Parade in Cleveland, Ohio, where it was seen mixed in with flags in the more normal red-black-green pattern.

The third flag shown (Variant #3) with the large white outline of Africa is currently offered for sale at several websites; its exact first use date and origin is unknown.

Another version reported, but not shown here, apparently had a red star added to the center black strip and was used by Black Panthers' sympathizers in Oakland, California, in 1989, at the funeral of Huey Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party. See the "Black Panther Party" on the "Political Flags of Extremism" page for more information.

Image by Rob Davis
Brotherhood Flag

World Peace Association (WPA) Flag 1958

The World Peace Association (WPA) was based in Jenkins, Minnesota. The flag was dedicated at Odessa, New York, in May of 1958. It was used at the exhibit for the association at the Brussels World's Fair.

The Brotherhood Flag consists of five horizontal stripes of equal width. The top strip is red, the second stripe is white, the third stripe is brown, the fourth strip is yellow, and the fifth or bottom stripe is black. Each stripe represents one of the five different groups of the human race.

Image by Rick Wyatt
Peace Flag

Image by Rick Wyatt
U.S. Peace Flag

Peace Protest Flags 1960-1970s

In the 1960's a strong protest movement was born among the draft age college students to protest the Vietnam War. At first the student protesters used crude peace symbols, usually black painted on white backgrounds, at their rallies. The peace symbol was also spray painted on walls and clothing.

The Peace Symbol itself is an internationally recognized symbol for peace that was originally designed for the British nuclear disarmament movement by Gerald Holtom in 1958. Holtom, an artist and designer, made it for a march from Trafalgar Square, London, to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in England. The symbol is a combination of the semaphore signals for the letters "N" and "D," standing for "nuclear disarmament". The original drawing by Gerald Holtom of the symbol is housed in the Peace Museum in Bradford, England.

The use of the symbol as a flag was rare in the early protest rallies, where signs of protest leaned heavily on the burning of flags rather than carrying them. However, as the protest movement matured into the Peace Movement several popular flag designs emerged.

Image by Pete Loeser
UFW Flag

Image by Pete Loeser
UFW Strike Flag

United Farm Workers 1962

In 1962, Cesar Cesar and Dolores Huerta founded the United Farm Workers. Their goal was to organize the Mexican agricultural workers and improve their working conditions, mostly in California. For two decades they attempted to raise public awareness to the struggles of the farm workers for better pay and safer working conditions. They eventually succeeded, using nonviolent tactics, boycotts, pickets, strikes, and hunger strikes.

Richard Chavez designed the UFW black eagle and his brother Cesar chose the black-white-red colors (white for their hope, black for their struggle, and red for their sacrifice) for their flags design. The story told is that Richard first sketched a "Aztec, or Mexican" black eagle on a piece of brown wrapping paper, then squared off the wing edges so that the eagle would be easier for union members to draw on their handmade red flags and banners.

The black eagle (some have called it a thunderbird) became a powerful symbol and the farm workers and their supporters proudly carried the black eagle flags and banners, sometimes with the words "huelga" (strike), or "viva la causa" (Long live our cause) or simply "UFW AFL-CIO" (for the United Farm Workers, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) added to the basic design within their white "circle of hope." The similarity of the design to far-left and right extremist flags was not lost to their detractors.

Image by Rick Wyatt

Image by Rick Wyatt
Agent Orange Flag

MIA/POW Flags and Agent Orange Flags

Two more Vietnam War Era protest flags that are still in use are the "Missing In Action, Prisoner of War" Flags (MIA/POW) being flown by those wishing to remind people that there are still American soldiers missing in action and possibly being held as prisoner by the Vietnamese government. These flags can be found with white and black backgrounds, and with silver, white or red lettering. The flags state: "You are not forgotten." Interesting enough, in 1990, Congress adopted the MIA/POW flag as a symbol of our nation's concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still held prisoner, or missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia," thus making it a national flag which entitles it to be flown above all State flags.

Image by Rick Wyatt
Image by Rick Wyatt
MIA/POW Flag (Type #2)
MIA/POW Flag (Type #3)

The second type of protest flag to come out of the Vietnam War era is from those angered with the secret use of Agent Orange to defoliate the Vietnam jungles, and especially about the harmful health effects the use of this chemical had on people and troops who came in contact with it.

"50 United Fascist States" Flag

Black Panther Protest Flag 1966

In 1966, in Oakland, California, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The Panthers practiced what they called "self-defense" for the minority communities against the U.S. government, and fought to establish revolutionary socialism through mass organizing and community based programs. The party was one of the first organizations in U.S. history to militantly struggle for ethnic minority and working class emancipation, and their agenda was the revolutionary establishment of real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines.

Black Panther Activist Bobby Seals and Angela Davis protested the use of what they called the "Fascist Pigs" of the local and State police forces that conspired against the Black Panther movement. This flag was reportedly used at one of their protest rallies, but currently has not been documented.

Image by Dave Martucci
US Ecology Flag

American Ecology Movement Flag 1967

This Ecology flag was first made by the San Francisco based Paramount Flag Company in 1967. This flag was based on the Stars and Stripes, but used dark green instead of blue and light green instead of red. The colors were said to represent "pure air and green land" and environmental action.

This flag has seen limited use at American Ecology Conferences, meetings and protests since the 1970s.

Image by Tripodero
AIM Flag

Image by Tripodero
AIM Flag (variant)

Image from Rick Prohaska
Remember Wounded Knee
40th Anniversary Flag 2013

American Indian Movement Flags 1968

The American Indian Movement (AIM) is a Native American activist organization in the United States. Founded in 1968, AIM calling itself the "Trail of Broken Treaties," began championing the cause of Indian unity. AIM was founded by Dennis Banks, George Mitchell, Herb Powless, Clyde Bellecourt, Harold Goodsky, and Eddie Benton-Banai in Minneapolis to address issues of Native American poverty, housing, treaty issues, and police harassment.

In 1972, AIM gained international press when it seized the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C., and again in 1973 at a standoff at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Their goal was to take a stand against centuries of what they claimed was mismanaged by the U.S. government policy and trust.

In the decades since AIM's founding, the group has led protests "advocating indigenous American interests, inspired cultural renewal, monitored police activities, and coordinated employment programs in cities and in rural reservation communities across the United States." They continue to sponsor protest marches, long walks, and numerous conferences supporting both Canadian and American Native American interest.

In 2013 AIM released a special flag commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 71 day occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. The site was obviously chosen for its symbolic value as the location of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. The 1973 incident began when approximately 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The protest followed the failure to impeach tribal president Richard Wilson, whom they accused of corruption. The gun toting Oglala and AIM activists controlled the town for 71 days while the United States Marshals Service, FBI agents, and other law enforcement agencies exchanged gun fire. In the end, the siege was successful, but the violence continued between the opponents of the tribal government and Wilson's supporters for the next three years resulting in over 60 known deaths.

Image by A.H.
Flag of Earth

Flag of Earth 1969

The "Flag of Earth" was designed by an Illinois farmer named James Cadle shortly after the first manned landing on the moon in 1969. It consists of a blue circle, representing the earth, on a black background. To the left is a segment of a large yellow circle, representing the sun. On the lower right is a small white circle, representing the moon.

It was meant to be a flag for all nations and yet a flag of no nation. There are no rules to observe in displaying the flag, it could be flown at any time, in any weather, for any reason. The Flag of Earth Movement had no political, cultural or geographical affiliations. The flag itself was made by the Paramount Flag Company of San Francisco in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They were purchased mostly by astronomers where the flag apparently became quite popular. It was flown all over the globe, including in the former Soviet Union at observatories. They became very popular with SETI, and a similar design is still in use by the environmental group Knights of Gaia (the Earth).

Image by Henry A. Waxman and António Martins
McConnell Earth Flag

Earth Day Flag 1970

The Earth Flag, often called the Earth Day Flag, was designed by John McConnell in 1970. It is the photographic image of the earth taken during the flight of Apollo 10 in 1969, viewed from above the Indian Ocean just east of the Cape of Good Hope, on a background of dark blue.

The first Earth Flag was created for the first Earth Day in San Francisco in March of 1970. It was primarily a Peace Day. Later, McConnell became active in the United Nations Earth Society Foundation where he met Margaret Mead, who really made the Earth Flag the icon it has become today. She literally carried it with her wherever she went. It is still sold by flag companies today.

Image by António Martins
Italian PACE Flag c1970

Image by Marcus Schmöger
Italian PACE Flag c1980
Italian Variant #2

Image by Marcus Schmöger
Italian PACE Flag c1990
Italian Variant #3

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
American PACE Flag c2000
American Variant #1

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
American PACE Flag c2000
American Variant #2

Image by Rick Wyatt
American PACE Flag c2000
American Variant #3

Italian "PACE" Flag
American Variant "PEACE" Flags

This rainbow colored flag is the Italian Peace Flag, which dates from the 1970s. In Italian, the word "pace" means "peace." This foreign flag has in recent years enjoyed some success in the United States as a substitute for the more commonly used and traditional Peace Flag, and is still popular in Italy and other parts of Europe today. The original striped rainbow peace flag, which included a white stripe since removed, first appeared in Italy in 1961, minis the white word "PACE" which was added in the early 1970s.

Because of the Italian PACE flag´s similar appearance it has been confused by the uninformed with the American Gay Rights (LGBT) Rainbow flag. However, upon close examination you will discover that it has more stripes and colors (7 instead of 6) than the Gay Right´s flag. It is basically a case of two similar flags both attempting to mimic the colors of the rainbow, but with the important difference of an extra dark blue stripe added to the Italian Peace flags.

These Italian-style peace flags are now being "localized" in countries other than Italy and the word PACE is being translated to local languages like English, German (FRIEDE) or Turkish (BARIS). In the United States the most common variants (American PEACE variants #1-4) substitute the Italian "PACE" with the inscription "PEACE." A peculiarity of their use in the USA is that they are used not only at the pacifist rallies and protests, but also at LGBT events, having been adopted by their participants, probably because of their similarity with the rainbow LGBT flags. The color shades seem to vary a lot, so note that these images show only the most typical sets of colors.

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Image by Tomislav Todorovic
American PEACE Variant #1
American PEACE Variant #2
Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Image by Tomislav Todorovic
American PEACE Variant #3
American PEACE Variant #4

The most widely used American variant (American PEACE variant #1) has the following color pattern: dark blue, cyan, light blue, green, yellow, orange, and red; with the word "PEACE" in white written over the violet blue and green stripes. Unlike the USA, this variant is rarely seen in Europe.

A variant widely used in Europe, but apparently less so in the USA, has the color pattern: purple, dark blue, light blue, green, yellow, orange, red; word PEACE is inscribed in white over light blue and green (American PEACE Variant #2).

Another American PEACE flag variant (American PEACE Variant #3) that is very popular in Europe, but used less in the USA, has the color pattern: dark blue, light blue, purple, green, yellow, orange, and red; word PEACE is inscribed in white over purple and green.

The variant most rarely seen in the USA (American PEACE Variant #4), a bit more popular in Europe, has the color pattern: dark blue, purple, light blue, green, yellow, orange, and red; word PEACE is inscribed in white over light blue and green.

The American PACE Flag (Variant #1) uses the same color pattern as American PEACE Variant #1 (dark blue, cyan, very light blue, green, yellow, orange, red), but has the white word "PACE" inscribed over very light blue and green instead.

A recent version of this popular flag (American PACE Variant #3) uses a very distinctive typeface, which is centered on the flag and covering three stripes (orange, green, light blue), and is currently being marketed, but has not yet been actually documented in use.

Image from Tomislav Todorovic
Rainbow Children Flag

The New Glory Flag c1970

This interesting variation of the U.S. flag has its red stripes repainted into the seven colors of rainbow. The remaining red stripe retains its original shade, and the dark blue stripe near the bottom is in the same shade as the canton. It was originally popular in the 1970s with the "Rainbow Children" and other similar counter culture groups, but has gained new life as a Gay Rights/Gay Pride flag today. It was originally used by the "Hippy" generation at their Rainbow Gatherings, but the flag, now re-purposed, was used at the Gay Rally in Dallas in 2008, and again in San Francisco during the 2009 Gay Pride Parade.

The original flag was made by the Paramount Flag Company in San Francisco and later by Colors of the Wind, Inc. in Santa Monica. A variant version starts with the purple stripe instead of the red one.

Image by Seth Lefferts
One People/One Planet

Fuller Projection World Flag c1980s

Buckminster Fuller envisioned one people/one planet, the "Spaceship Earth" as he called it. He predicted the worldwide economic collapse of the early 21st Century and hoped it would be the beginning of humanity acting as one race, one people, one planet. In the 1980s Seth Lefferts, who described himself as "one of the people on Spaceship Earth," created this design based on Fuller's vision.

The flag is named after the the Fuller Projection Dymaxion Air-Ocean World Map. This image was first conceived and created by Fuller in 1938 by collapsing the sphere of the Earth onto a flat surface of the ocean and land masses, without splitting or exaggerating their relative sizes. The idea was to show an equal representation of all of humanity.

Image by António Martins
Gay Pride/Rainbow Flag

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Rainbow Triangle Flag

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Lambda Rainbow Flag

Gay Rights, Gay Pride Flag

Policy on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) behavior in the United States is a hot political and social issue. Five states and one district (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and District of Columbia) have legalized same-sex marriage. Sexual acts between persons of the same sex have been legal nationwide in the United States since 2003, pursuant to the US Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. Openly lesbian and gay members of the US military is subject to a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, but President Barack Obama indicated during the 2008 presidential campaign, and also during his 2010 State of the Union Address, his desire to end this policy.

Historically, a pink triangle was one of the Nazi concentration camp badges used to identify prisoners who were sent there because of being homosexual. Originally the triangle was intended by the German National Socialist authorities as a badge of shame, but since then a pink triangle has become an international symbol of gay pride and the gay rights, and is now second in popularity only to the rainbow flag. This Rainbow Triangle variant is a "hybrid" of the original Rainbow flag and Pink Triangle. Today, flying a Gay Pride flag openly, like many similar flags, indicates political support for gays to not be persecuted for their beliefs in a free society, and doesn't mean that those flying are necessarily gay themselves.

Rainbow Gay Pride Flags with white letter lambda either centered or placed in the cantons have been used in West Hollywood, Long Beach, San Diego and other areas of Southern California.

This use of the lambda as a gay symbol began when it was adopted in 1970 by the New York Gay Activists Alliance as the symbol of their growing movement of gay liberation. The lambda was subsequently adopted by the International Gay Rights Congress in 1974 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Today, the symbol generally denotes lesbian and gay men´s concerns together because the lambda was not linked to any specific gender or sexual orientation.

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Gay Pride Flag c1990

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Gay Pride Flag 2008

The New Glory Flag c1990

A fusion of the "Gay Rights, Gay Pride" Flag and the "Rainbow Children" Flag of the 1970s has resulted in this interesting flag. The New "Old Glory" Rainbow Flag is a more recent development. It basically adds a familiar blue canton of 50 stars to the Gay Pride flag to stress that equal rights for gays and lesbians are crucial in all 50 states. This strange merging of the long haired "Rainbow Children" of the 60s and 70s with the Gays of the 90s is an interesting vexillological development.

It should be noted, however, that although similar in general appearance with each other, the "old" New Glory flag had thirteen multi-colored stripes in a slightly different order, whereas on the "new" flag these thirteen stripes have been replaced with only the six colored stripes of the Gay Movement.

A similar and interesting variant of this flag which replaced the stars with pink triangles first made its appearance in 2008 at the Las Vegas LGBT Equality Rally.

Variants of this basic design continue to appear and can be seen both on the Internet and at LGBT demonstrations.

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
African American Flag

Hammons´ African American Flag 1990

This flag was designed by David Hammons, an African-American artist from New York City. His works were inspired by the civil rights and Black Power movements. He designed the "African-American Flag" in 1990 by recoloring the US national flag in the Garvey colors. The flag is now a part of the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art and a copy is flown daily at the entrance of the Harlem Studio Museum, a New York museum devoted to the art of African-Americans, so his design is no longer just a work of art, but has become a very real and used flag.

The dimensions of the original flag was 56" x 88" (142.2 x 223.5 cm), but a variety of sizes can now be seen on the Web and the flag flown at the Studio Museum seems closer to the default proportions of the US national flag than to the Hammons' original model.

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin
African American Unity Flag

African American Unity Flag 1991

The African American Unity Flag was designed by Vincent Paramore as part of the African American Unity Flag Association (AAUF) grant. The Flag "tells the history of a people who originated from Africa and found themselves in a new land stripped of their religion, culture, language and history. It also memorializes black heroes and heroines known and unknown. The AAUF [flag] Serves to salute our continued progress for total freedom and equality."

A detailed explanation of the flag´s different elements and their meanings can be found on the African American Unity Flag (U.S.) page of the "Flags of the World" website.

New Peace Flag
(Type #1)

U.S. Peace Flag
(Type #2)

New Peace Protest Flags 1990-2010

The Gulf Wars and later the Afghanistan War brought a whole new generation of Peace Protests to life, and with them a whole new set of flags to wave.

New Peace Flag (Type #3)
New Peace Flag (Type #4)
  • Type #1 features the traditional peace symbol done with 50 five-pointed stars.
  • Type #2 is a marriage of the Ecology Flag and the Peace flag.
  • Type #3 has an enlarged plain white peace symbol on either a blue, black, green background. A variant has a white background with a black symbol.
  • Type #4 turns the Italian Pace Flag upside down, adds a white stripe and white peace sign and the English translation of "Pace," i.e. "Peace," to the mix.

Image by Pete Loeser
Cascadian Flag

The Imaginary State of Cascadia 1994

On a less serious vain, Cascadia is an imagined independent state that would incorporate parts of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Southern Alaska and Northern California. It would somehow be formed if these states and province would ever successfully secede from their respective federal governments.

Designed in 1994 by a Portland University Political Science professor named Alexander Baretich, the flag has appeared on a couple of local microbrews labels with strange names like "Secession IPA" or "Cascadian Dark Ale," and has been seen at occasional sporting events and on college campuses. Most recently it has popped up at Occupy protests held in the Pacific Northwest.

Image by Rick Wyatt
African American Flag House

African American Flag House 1995

This flag was first flown at the African American Flag House in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 3, 1995, just one day before our nation's 4th of July celebration. The African American Flag House foundation hoped the flag would become "a positive and unifying symbol that represents the enormous historical investment of African Americans in the Nation, their defense of the Constitution of the United States, and the promise of opportunity for all. This original flag proclaims African Americans as an important part of the rich mosaic of the United States of America, its protectorates and territories."

A detailed explanation of the flag´s different elements and their meanings can be found on the Afro-American flags (U.S.) page of the "Flags of the World" website.

Image by Antonio Martins
U.S. Unity Movement Flag

American "Hip Hop Nation" Unity Movement Flag 1996

In the summer of 1996, a flag symbolizing the values of the Hip Hop Nation was officially revealed in San Francisco. The Hip Hop Unity Flag is the brain child of community activist James P. Queen, who is the President of Racial Unity Inc. The flag features the colors of our human family: Black, Brown, Red, Yellow and White. Unlike most flags whose stripes are laid horizontally the Hip Hop Generation-Unity Flag's stripes stand vertical/side by side. The significance of this is to show equality because no color is above the other. In short, the flag stands for unity.

On the reverse side of this flag the colors are reversed, i.e. - White, Yellow, Red, Brown, and Black with the word Unity spelled from right to left.

Image by António Martins
One World Flag

One World Flag Movement 1996

The One World Flag was designed by David Bartholomew in 1996. He claims it occurred to him in a dream. It consists of a traditional yin-yang symbol, blue above and green below, representing the planet earth living in harmony, on a background of white, representing peace. The edges are formed of colored bars, red above, yellow on the right, white below, and black on the left, representing the four compass directions.

Bartholomew hoped the One World Flag would become an international symbol of diversity, tolerance, uniqueness, self-esteem, and cooperation. He still heads the One World Flag Movement which partly supports itself by selling the One World flag.

Image from Juneteenth website
Juneteenth Flag 2000
original design by Ben Haith

Image by Pete Loeser and Tomislav Todorovic
Variant Stars and Stripes #1
"The Middle Passage Flag"
original design by Carl Sharif

Image by Pete Loeser and Tomislav Todorovic
Variant Stars and Stripes #2
"The Mainlander Flag"
original design by Carl Sharif

Image by Pete Loeser and Tomislav Todorovic
Variant Stars and Stripes #3
"The Islander Flag"
original design by Carl Sharif

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Variant Stars and Stripes #4
First seen at the Inauguration of President Barack Obama 2009

Juneteenth Flags 2000

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery in America. It was on June 19, 1863 (Juneteenth), that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to deliver the news that the Civil War was over and the slaves were free. Although they had been freed by the "Emancipation Proclamation," signed by President Abraham Lincoln almost two years earlier in 1863, it wasn't until Juneteenth that they learned of it.

Since 1980 the Juneteenth Celebration has been an officially recognized Texas State holiday, and has now spread far beyond its Texas origins. Today more than 30 states have followed Texas's lead by either making it a state holiday, or sponsoring celebrations. Some cities sponsor week-long celebrations, culminating on June 19, while others hold shorter celebrations. The day is, of course, especially meaningful for black Americans, as it not only commemorates a historical day that forever changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of African Americans, but also marked one of the greatest moral victory's of our nation's history. It restored basic human rights to a group of Americans, who never should have been denied them in the first place. Its growing popularity acknowledges this period in our history, one that shaped and continues to influence our society today.

Credit for the creation of the original Juneteenth Flag goes to Ben Haith, the former Massachusetts Juneteenth State Director and, in 1997, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF). The original flag was raising in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2000. The tradition of raising the Juneteenth Flag at the Dillaway Thomas House in the Roxbury Heritage Park on every June 19 continues to this day.

Besides the flying of the original flag, in recent years several variant versions of the Stars and Stripes have become increasingly popular, called the "All American Flag Series," they replace the red white and blue national colors with various combinations of the colors of the African Heritage movement. They were designed by Carl Sharif of Newark, New Jersey.

The Middle Passage Flag (Variant #1) is dedicated to the memory of all Africans who lost their lives during the Middle Passage, the horible voyage faced by African slaves on their way to the Americas. Black stripes stand for their deaths and green ones for their youth, for most of them were young people. The black canton stands for African origins of the flag users and red stars are for the blood loss by their ancestors, not only during the Middle Passage, but also during the latter sufferings and struggles in America, this symbolism being common to all the three flags. The Mainlander Flag (Variant #2) is meant to represent the North American people of African origin, which is why it resembles the original Stars and Stripes the most, with seven red and six green stripes. The Islander Flag (Variant #3) has the stripes in Garvey colors, reminding us that the African traditions in the New World are best preserved in the Caribbean Islands and South America, as well as that Marcus Garvey himself was a native of Jamaica. This set of flags thus represents the Afro-American population with all the complexities of its identity.

A flag similar to the Islander Flag, but with the stars changed to green (Variant #4) was first seen in Washington, D.C. at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in January 2009. While nothing else is currently known about this flag, its meaning is obviously similar to that of the All American Flags, which might have provided the inspiration to its designers.

Also seen during the Juneteenth Parades and Celebrations are lots of the normal stars and stripes, but also other historical Afro-American flags variants. See the "Black Liberation Flag," the "Hammons´ African American Flag," the "African American Unity Flag," and the "African American Flag House," as examples of these flags.

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin
D.C. Taxation Without Representation Flag

Image from Phil Nelson
D.C. Statehood Green Party Flag

District of Columbia Statehood Movement Flag 2002

The District of Columbia Statehood Movement was a political movement that advocated making the District of Columbia a state which dates back to the 1970s. Statehood would give the citizens of Washington, DC, full representation in the United States Congress and full control over their own local affairs, which they don't enjoy at this time. Unfortunately, there is very little political support in Congress for the proposal and since 2003 the proposal seems mostly abandoned.

Another suggestion made for the District of Columbia is that they create a special government district just around the National Mall in downtown Washington to include only the Capitol, the White House, and the Supreme Court (with no permanent residents), which would be under the direct control of Congress. The remainder of Washington could become a separate city, and once again be part of Maryland.

In November of 2000, the DC Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing license plates bearing the slogan "Taxation without representation." President Bill Clinton had these plates placed on the presidential limousines; however, President George W. Bush, in one of his first official acts as president, had the plates removed. The second flag shown here resulted from the merger of the DC Statehood and Green parties in 2006 forming the DC Statehood Green Party.

Image from Adbusters website
Corporate America Flag
(Adbuster version)

Corporate America Flag
(variant version)

Corporate America Protest 2003

These defaced American flags were a part of a protest sponsored by the radical Adbusters Media Foundation against their perceived take-over of the American government and society by multi-national corporations. They described themselves as: "a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society."

The flags were used in a variety of street protests and "teach-ins," which were largely ignored at the time by the national press, but apparently the movement lives on with its rebirth in the 2011 "Occupy" protest. They continue to sponsor their website and publish a free magazine called, naturally, "Adbusters." Apparently, several variants of this flag have been produced, changing some of the 30 corporate logos and their order of appearance. The size of the canton and color seems to vary as well as the flag's size ratios. Two examples are shown here.

An interesting side note about this flag design origins is that it may have had its introduction in Canadian caricature. In Design of Dissent: Socially and Politically Driven Graphics, a book about graphic design in politics written by Mirko Ilic, an Yugoslav-born graphic designer from New York, and Milton Glaser, the inventor of the famous "I (heart) NY" sign, and Tony Kushner, there were illustrations showing the flag with logos, and stating that the original design was of Canadian origin. Vexillologist and Illustrator Phil Nelson posted an image of the flag as early as 2001 on the "Flags of the World" website.

Image from Philip Kanellopoulos
Earth Flag

Earth Flag 2004

This version of an Earth Flag has been in use by an environmental advocacy and activist group called the Knights of Gaia since 2004. The flag is based on James Cadle's "Flag of Earth," first proposed in 1969.

According to the group, the flag represents the community of all the peoples of the Earth. The flag's background is divided into two fields yellow and black. In the center of the flag is a large blue roundel representing the Earth, the smaller gray roundel representing the Moon, with the yellow field representing the edge of the Sun against the black of space. The gray roundel is 6/22 of the diameter of the blue roundel, corresponding to the ratio of the actual sizes of the Moon and the Earth.

51-Star Puerto Rican
Statehood Movement Flag

Image by Gunter Küchler
Proposed 51-Star Flag

Puerto Rican Statehood Movement Flags

This 51-star version of the United States flag is commonly used by the Puerto Rican Statehood Movement (Movimiento Estadista Puertorriqueño). Although, it has been popular among the island's statehood supporters for years, a basic question for most Puerto Ricans remains as to whether Puerto Rico should remain a U.S. territory, become a U.S. state, or become an independent country, and on this they disagree.

It should also be pointed out that the Puerto Rican Statehood Movement is not actually a single group or organization, but more of a unofficial confederacy of various organizations and individuals that have staged events and activities and share the common goal of advocating, supporting, or seeking statehood for Puerto Rico. These organizations that promote statehood include the New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association, and the Republican Party of Puerto Rico, to name a few. It should also be pointed out that some Puerto Ricans favor the "reunification" of Puerto Rico with Spain.

In anticipation of the addition of a new State, the US Army Institute of Heraldry has also designed a Proposed 51-star national flag for use in the event that a state is admitted as the fifty-first state. The suggested design follows the more traditional horizontal rows of stars design used by the military over the years. Naturally, both these flags have become very popular with both the Puerto Rican Statehood supporters and the District of Columbia Statehood Movement. Naturally, if they are both successful neither 51-Star flag would never become a reality anyway.

Image by Antonio Martins
Nation of Hawai'i Flag

Image by Ivan Sache
Ka Lahui Hawai Flag

Hawaiian Independence Flags

Since Hawaii became part of the United States there have been several local groups or movements whose goals were independence for Hawaii. The Nation of Hawai'i is a pro-independence group of people who claim descent from the original inhabitants of the islands. They use a white-yellow-black horizontal tricolored flag with a "Kahili" symbol in the middle yellow band. The Ka Lahui Hawai, also known as the Polynesian Sovereignty Movement, are another group desiring independence who use a flag with a white constellation of stars placed on a dark blue field.

Image by Peter Orenski
Hawai'i Ko Aloha Flag 2004

A third group, known as Hawai'i Ko Aloha claim to represent all the lineal descendants of Hawaiians from Maka'ainana to Alii. The colors of the background of their Flag represent the Nine islands of the inhabited Hawaiian chain prior to the arrival of the western exploiters. The saying Hawaii ko Aloha means "Love of our land of Hawaii."

Image by Rick Wyatt
Term Limits Flag

Term Limits Protest Flag 2008

Reformers since the early 1990s have been trying to get congressional term limits approved. In the elections of 1994, part of the Republican platform was to pass legislation setting term limits in Congress. They proposed a constitutional amendment to limit members of the Senate to two six-year terms and members of the House to six two-year terms. However, since constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority, it failed.

Since 2007, supporters have been trying to get a national constitutional convention organized, since it appeared that Congress would be unlikely to propose and adopt any amendment that limits its own power.

Image from CRW Flags
Join or Die Flag
(popular modern variant)

Join or Die Flag
(Variant based on original cartoon)

The "Join or Die" Flag 2008

Although this flag isn't historical in the sense that it ever waved during the American Revolution, some contemporary flag companies are today selling a version of the "Join or Die" flag. There is no historical documentation to support this flag's existence, but this flag was used in the opening titles and credits of the somewhat inaccurate seven-part historical HBO melodrama "John Adams," released in the 2008, and based on the Pulitzer prize-winning book of the same name by David McCullough.

The flag design is based on a political cartoon based on an article published in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette protesting the British practice of sending convicts to America. The author suggested that the colonists return the favor by shipping a cargo of rattlesnakes to England, which could then be distributed in the noblemen's gardens.

Three years later, in 1754, the Gazette printed this political cartoon of a divided snake as a commentary on the Albany Congress. They wished to remind the delegates of the danger of disunity, and the serpent was shown cut to pieces. Each segment is marked with the name of a colony, and the motto "JOIN or DIE" written below. Other contemporary newspapers soon took up the "JOIN or DIE" theme.

Although today this flag is not connected to any particular group or protest movement, it is frequently flown by individuals as either patriotic statements or individual protests of American disunity.

Gadsden Flag 1775

2nd American Revolution 2009

Tea Party 2010

Tea Party Flags 2009

The Tea Party movement is a conservative political movement in the United States that grew throughout 2009 into a series of locally and nationally coordinated protests. The Tea Party protests were a series of protests across the United States that focuses on smaller government, fiscal responsibility, individual freedoms and upholding a conservative view of the Constitution. The protests were partially in response to several Federal laws: the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and a series of healthcare reform bills. The name "Tea Party" refers to the Boston Tea Party of 1773 when American colonists destroyed British tea rather than paying what they considered a tax that violated their right to "No Taxation without Representation." In the 2010 Congressional elections, it became a recognized faction of the Republican political party, and successfully ran several conservative Congressional candidates under its name.

Image by Rick Wyatt
Image by Rick Wyatt
Culpeper Minute Men Flag 1775
Gonzales "Come and Take It" flag 1835

Several Tea Party flags have been reported being seen at Tea Party Rallies; one a modified "Betsy Ross" flags with a Roman Numeral II placed in the center of the 13-Star pattern representing the "Second American Revolution," another, less seen, but reported was a variant slightly renascent of a Confederate States of America flag. Reportability, in Texas, the Tea Party likes the Gonzales "Come and Take It" flag. The flag most popular, however, hands down, is the modern replica of the Gadsden Flag showing a coiled rattle-snake with 13 rattles on a yellow background with the black lettered motto "Don't Thread On Me," although the Culpeper Minute Men Flag has also been seen. Snakes? Anyone?

Image by Pete Loeser
Three Percenters Flag

Image by Pete Loeser
Oath keepers Flag

Image by Kerodin III
The III Battle Flag

Image by Kerodin III
The III Battle Flag (variant)

Image by Pete Loeser
Gun Control Flag

Nyberg Battle Flag of the Three Percent 2009
Oath Keepers and III Percent Patriots

The Nyberg flag, named after right-wing activist Gail Nyberg, who apparently designed it, is being sold at the "Sipsey Street Irregulars" website. Based on the belief that during the American Revolution, the active forces in the field against the King's tyranny never amounted to more than 3% of the colonists, militia groups calling themselves by such names as the "Three Percenters," (Threepers), the "Sipsey Street Irregulars", and the "Oath Keepers" (led by Nevada lawyer Stewart Rhodes, a former staffer of Congressman Ron Paul), have sprung up expressing the belief that any attempt at gun control is unconstitutional and violating their second amendment rights. These groups claim to be the new three-percenters who "the Founders counted on to save the Republic when everyone else abandoned it."

These extreme "anti-gun control" (or "pro-second amendment") gun owners, claim to be preparing to "defend" themselves and "their right to bare [sic] arms" against perceived "enemies, foreign and domestic," and who warn all those they call "collectivists" (those who favor gun control "control"), to leave them and their guns alone. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have labeled these groups as anti-government, extremists, and racists.

The Oath Keepers, founded on March 2009 by Stewart Rhodes (a Yale Law graduate and former US Army paratrooper) were incorporated in Las Vegas as a non-profit corporation. They advocate their members disobey any orders that they are given if they believe they violate the Constitution of the United States. Supposably made up of present and former servicemen, police, and firefighters, the Oath Keepers include chapters in many states across America. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has reportedly been seen sporting an Oath Keepers patch.

III Percent Patriots Resist Flag
III Percent Patriots Chaplain Corps

An apparent very milita-like splinter group calling themselves the III Percent Patriots, led by someone using the alias of Kerodin III, has broken away from the main body of the Three Percenters and established websites where he claims to be attempting create an "official III Organization." He say this about their flag: "This is my Battle Flag. Tremble, Enemies of Liberty. For if I fall and take it to the bloody mud - one of my brothers will pick it up and kill you for me." He says his Battle flag´s stripes are from the Sons of Liberty flag, and the III represents "...every American...who has picked up a rifle, or would pick up a rifle, for Rightful Liberty." Thus far these groups have not been involved in violent activities, other than spending a great deal of time and money arming and outfiting themselves.

A related gun control protest flag is a modern twist to the Texan Gonzales Banner of 1835 which replaces the texas cannon with a modern M-16 military semi-automatic rifle. Although this flag isn't affiliated with any particular gun control group, it seemed to fit here.

Image by Eugene Ipavec
"Oh, My God, Snake!" Flag

"Keep Fear Alive" Protest Flag 2010

A "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Oct 30, 2010. Billed as an "anti-extremism" gathering, it was hosted by Jon Stewart (of Comedy Central´s "The Daily Show") and Stephen Colbert (of Comedy Central´s "The Colbert Report"). A huge crowd attended, and apparently it received mixed reviews, not enough content and too much clowning around for some people, others loved it.

The participants brought many humorous or ironic signs, many spoofing the flags present at Tea Party rallies like this modified Gadsden flag with the motto "Don't tread on me" replaced with "OMG SNAKE! HELP! SNAKE!". The red slogan "KEEP FEAR ALIVE" was also inserted into the snake's coils.

"In the Fall" Flag

The "In the Fall, Fire Them All" Movement Flag 2010

United States voter dissatisfaction with the apparent inability of the politicians in Washington D.C. to work together birthed a "In the Fall, Fire Them All" ground swell that resulted in many people voting against all incumbents regardless of their political views in the 2010 Congressional Elections. This seriously harmed the Democratic majority and cost them control of Congress.

Unfortunately, the politicians ignored the message and the Republicans took it to mean they had received a mandate from the people, and so the movement may either gain momentum or die; only time will tell.

Legalize Marijuana Flag
(Type #1)

Legalize Marijuana Flag
(Type #2)

Legalize Marijuana Flags 2010

The recent attempt to legalize marijuana in California brought a whole new set of flags to wave. Interestingly enough the growers themselves helped defeat the proposition on the election ballot. Ah, capitalism...

Legalize Marijuana Flag
(Type #3)
Legalize Marijuana Flag
(Type #4)
Legalize Marijuana Flag
(Type #5)

A whole rash of flags appeared on the market, supporting the legalization of marijuana and the use of "medical" marijuana. These are a few examples. Type #1 - places marijuana leaves on the stripes and canton; Type #2 - tries to mix conservation, recycling and marijuana use; Type #3 - plays a word game using the popular ipod as a ploy; Type #4 - features a marijuana leaf and the word "blunt," slang for a tobacco leaf that is often used to roll marijuana cigars. They come in flavors such as cherry and peach and are used to camouflage the potent smell of pot. Type #5 - centers a leaf and the word "Marijuana" on a horizontal red-yellow-green tricolor.


The COEXIST Movement Flag 2010

The COEXIST Movement has sprung up, especially on college campuses, across the country. The goal of this movement is to embrace tolerance for all belief systems. The chief promoter of this movement is the music industry and the pop icon Bono from the band U2. Hollywood and the fashion industry also promotes this movement with an array of clothing products, gear and bumper stickers, including a flag. Not surprisingly, this is not a popular movement with most fundamentalist groups or churches.

On the flag every letter in "COEXIST" has a symbol representing a religious system or spiritual ideology: "C" for the crescent and star (representing Islam); "O" being dotted with the Karma Wheel (Buddhism); "E" as energy in the relativity equation (Science); "X" illustrating the star of David (Judaism); the "I" doted with the peace symbol; "S" for the Tao symbol; and "T" for the cross for Christianity. The black stripes hold a whole range of different belief symbols.

9/11 Remembrance Flag #1
(WTC Towers Black Striped Flag)

9/11 Remembrance Flag #2
(Blackinton 9-11 Commendation Flag)

9/11 Remembrance Flag #3
(National Remembrance Flag)

9/11 Remembrance Flag #4
(New York City Skyline Flag)

9/11 Remembrance Flag #5
(Flight 93 Hero Flag)

9/11 Remembrance Flag #6
(Thunder Flag)

9/11 Remembrance Flag #7
(DAR 9/11 Remembrance Flag)

9/11 Remembrance Flag #8
(Freedom Foundation Flag)

9/11 Remembrance Flag #9
Flag of Honor
(Which list the names of all the victims within the design)

9-11 World Trade Center Attack Remembrance Flags
10 Year Anniversary of Patriot's Day 2011

On September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and another attack on the Pentagon in Washington DC resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, including many firefighters, police, rescue, and medical personal who were attempting to help the victims. This Terrorist attack started what became known as "The War on Terrorism" and an invasion of Afghanistan led by American Troops followed. The campaign in Afghanistan was an attempt to destroy the al-Qaeda terrorist training camps inside the country and eventually resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden and several other al-Qaida leaders. In the process, the US military temporarily helped to overthrow the oppressive Taliban government. On September 11, 2011, the World remembered, the fateful day it all began...

9/11 Remembrance Flag #10

9/11 Remembrance Flag #11

9/11 Remembrance Flag #12

9/11 Remembrance Flag #13

9/11 Remembrance Flag #14

9/11 Remembrance Flag #15

9/11 Remembrance Flag #16

9/11 Remembrance Flag #17

9/11 Remembrance Flag #18

9/11 Remembrance Flag #19

9/11 Remembrance Flag #20
(actually a Canadian Remembrance Day Flag)
9/11 Remembrance Flag #21

9/11 Remembrance Flag #22

9/11 Remembrance Flag #23

9/11 Remembrance Flag #24

9/11 Remembrance Flag #25

There were no shortages of 9/11 Remembrance/Patriot´s Day flags on the market to help remember the Twin Towers Attack, the Pentagon Attack, and United Flight 93 on the 10th anniversary of the disasters. Here are just a few of the dozens seen being flown and sold. Although all these were reported being used, it should be pointed out that some of these flags may have been designed for other remembrance-type days, like the "Armistice" and "Remembrance" Days of the British Commonwealth nations, and the "Veteran's Day" and "Memorial Day" celebrations in the USA, etc., then multi-purposed.

Corporate America Flag

Image by Ultimate Flags
"Surrender the Booty" Flag
(reported, use undocumented)

Image by Ultimate Flags
Gadsden "Bite Me" Flag
(reported, use undocumented)

Image by Rick Wyatt
Turquoise-Green Peace Flag

Image by Rick Wyatt
Culpeper Minute Men Flag

(New World Regeneration Party)

Che Guevara Flag

Image by Pete Loeser & Tomislav Todorovic
Anarcho-Syndicalists Flag
at Urban Shield Protest 2013
(Unidentified Black Power Variant?)

Occupy Protest Flags 2011-2012

The newest wave of American protests, originally called "Occupy Wall Street," started in New York and has now spread across the United States, with the name being modified to simply "Occupy" and you name the place (Occupy Oakland, Occupy San Francisco, etc.). The protesters claim to be tired of the large corporations, who, in their quest for more power and profit, show an apparent disregard to the economic woes of the American people. This, along with the government´s inability or unwillingness to work together to solve the financial crisis facing the nation, have apparently sparked these large and spreading protests. Recently, some of these "camp-ins" have generated escalating violence between demonstrators, citizens, and law enforcement as more dissident and extremist groups infiltrate the grassroots movement to get their share of the national spotlight. Examples of violence and flag burnings, especially in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay area, resulted in the loss of middle class support, and the continued lack of any clear message, direction, or leadership further damaged the movement. By the early 2013s the movement was so fractured it had practically disappeared.

Image by Pete Loeser
Image by Ivan Sache
"In the Red" Flag
The Anarchist Flag
Image by Rick Wyatt
Image by Henry A. Waxman and António Martins
The Continental Flag
The Earth Day Flag
Image by Peter Orenski, ©2011 TME Co.
    Image by Tripodero
The 99% Stars and Stripes
American Indian Movement Flag
Image by Pete Loeser
Image by Pete Loeser
Corporate America Flag
("SOLD" variant framed with gun)
Corporate America Flag
(defaced with "WAR" variant)
Image from Veterans for Peace website
Image by Peter Orenski, ©2011 TME Co.
Veterans for Peace Flag
"Those Privileged Few" Flag
(suggested, use undocumented)
Image by Pete Loeser
United States Flag
(flown upside-down in protest)

Apparently, the movement failed to focus its attention on any particular flag, but some of the more interesting ones re-purposed or used at their demonstrations can be seen here. Naturally many regular US flags were displayed, either right-side-up or upside-down (many times defaced with slogans), and versions of the US flag with the stars replaced by corporate logos (first used in the 2003 Corporate America protest) saw some popular use. Examples would be the defaced variant with "SOLD" stenciled across the stripes (framed with a gun), or the one with the letters "WAR" shown here.

Other flags seen in use at Occupy demonstrations included plain red flags, red and black anarchist flags, a version of the Peace flag with a black and white peace symbol on a turquoise-green field, flags of Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Veterans for Peace, the Earth Flag, a 99% Stars and Stripes (representing the general ignored population), and even a "Those Privileged Few" Flag apparently pointing a finger at those wealthy privileged few who control society.

Also reported used were a variety of historical and group flags, including the historical red American Continental Flag with its green pine tree on a white canton, the Culpeper Minute Men Flag, and several different interesting versions of the Gadsden Flag. The flags of the American Indian Movement, the New World Regeneration Party, and Che Guevara have also made their appearances.

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Born This Way Flag

Born This Way 2011 (USA)

This Black flag with the words "BORN THIS WAY" in rainbow colors (each word in two colors) is being increasingly used as a sexual orientation flag. It has been seen in demonstrations in various American cities such as West Hollywood (California), San Francisco (California), and Jacksonville (Florida). It first appeared in England in 2011, but quickly made the trans-Atlantic crossing to the New World.

The words themselves may have come from a song and album title from recording artist Lady Gaga, herself a major supporter of the LGBT community.

Image by Pete Loeser
Lest They be Forgotten Flag
© Lest they be Forgotten Foundation

Image by Eugene Ipavec
The KIA Memorial Flag
© Flags of Freedom Program

Memorial Flags for the Fallen

Since the War Against Terrorism is like no other war the United States has entered, not a war not against another nation or people, but one against the actions of fanatical cults, reactionary groups, and individuals who use violence to attempt to force people to believe as they do, it is not surprising that the families of those who have perished in this modern crusade have sought different ways to express their grief and validate the sacrifice their families have made. Several flags have been designed to help fill this void.

The "Lest they be Forgotten" Foundation was the result of the desire of a Florida father named Gregg Garvey to honor his fallen son who died in Iraq, and to help honor all those killed in the War against Terrorism. The foundation was set up to help establish memorials in towns throughout the United States to those soldiers and patriots who have given their lives during Operation Enduring Freedom, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in the War against Terrorism. The flag is designed to be flown under the Stars and Stripes over these monuments. The "Lest they be Forgotten" Flag was first unveiled in 2007.

The goal of the "Flags of Freedom Program" is to provide a special free KIA Memorial Flag to any the surviving spouses or parents of those killed in action or who died of wounds received in combat in the War against Terrorism. Since there is no special national memorial flag for those who die in combat, they state that the KIA Memorial Flag "is dedicated to Honor and Remember all those killed in combat and those that died of wounds received in combat and the surviving families that endure so much." This KIA Memorial Flag, designed by Randy Yglesias, was first flown at American Legion Post 154 in Marathon, Florida on Pearl Harbor Day 2008.

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Equal Marriage Flag
(Type #1 - 13 State variant)

Image by Carl Tashian
Equal Marriage Flag
(Type #2 - 13 State variant)

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Equal Marriage Flag
(Type #3)

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Equal Marriage Flag
(Type #4)

Image from Rick Prohaska
Mars Flag Type #1
(In use as a marriage equality flag)

Image from Rick Prohaska
Venus Flag Type #1
(In use as a marriage equality flag)

Image from Rick Prohaska
Mars Flag Type #2
(In use as a marriage equality flag)

Image from Rick Prohaska
Venus Flag Type #2
(In use as a marriage equality flag)

Image from Rick Prohaska
Rainbow Heart Flag
(In use as a marriage equality flag)

Same Sex Marriage/Equal Marriage Flags

The Same Sex Marriage Movement, sometimes referred to as "equal marriage" or "gay marriage," has produced some interesting and colorful flags. Same-sex marriage is basically marriage between two persons of the same sex or gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage refer to it as marriage equality. Thus far only thirteen States and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing same sex marriages. They are Massachusetts (2004), Connecticut (2008), Iowa (2009), Vermont (2009), New Hampshire (2010), District of Columbia (2010), New York (2011), Washington (2012), Maryland (2013), Maine (2013), California (2013), Delaware (2013), Rhode Island (2013), and Minnesota (2013).

As more States pass these civil rights laws, the evolving protest flag for equal marriage rights in the United States will continued to change and add stars in the manner similar to the Woman's Suffrage Movement of the early 20th Century. They have also chosen to use modified Stars and Stripes and other historical flags to represent their cause. In protest, the suffragists created their own National Women's Party (NWP) flag (horizontal tricolored stripes of Gold/White/Purple) starting with only four centered stars on the white stripe, representing the four states that first allowed women to vote. The flag flew at the podium of the First International Women's Suffrage Conference in 1902, and as more States allowed woman the vote, they added stars to the design. Eventually, there were two rows of eighteen stars each, representing the 36 State votes necessary to amend the Constitution.

The modern Same Sex Marriage Movement seeks to end state-wide same-sex marriage bans and uses the same type of rational in their flag designs. Type #1 changes the color of the white stars pink in the canton to represent those States who have made same sex marriages legal, and replaces the red and white stripes with the Gay Rights rainbow. The creator of the Type #1 flag was Eddie Reynoso. Type #2, designed by Carl Tashian, leaves the stripes red and white, but only illuminates the stars of the States with equal marriage right laws in place. The stars are positioned from the top left based on the date that the state was admitted into the union, basically lighting up only those state stars that allow equal marriages.

The Type #3 flag basically defaces the "Gay Rights" Flag (LGBT - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Flag - with the traditional US coiled rattlesnake and "Don't Thread On Me" design. Designer unknown.

Image by Pete Loeser
Image by Tomislav Todorovic
HRC "Equality" Flag
(Blue-yellow hand held version)
HRC "Equality" Flag
(Red-pink hand held version)

On June 26, 2013, the US Supreme Court announced that it would not overturn a previous lower court's ruling on California's Proposition 8. This controversial state law banned same-sex marriages, and had been deemed unconstitutional by the lower court. The refusal of the higher court to overturn their decision seemed a great victory for the proponents of same-sex marriage. This decision was greeted with wild celebrations in San Francisco's Castro District where the blue-yellow "Equality" or "Human Rights Campaign" flag made it's appearence. Also reported in use in Washington DC was a red version of the HRC flag, specifically supporting the Equal Marriage movement.

The Type #4 flag was created to be specific for Civil, Gay and Same-Sex Marriages and to contrast the Gay Pride Flag. The white field is said to represent new beginnings, the pair of interlocking rings depict the commitment between two partners; the six colors within the rings standing for gay and lesbian pride. The flag is commonly defaced with the name of whichever state the movement or demonstration for equality of rights is currently taking place. The name of the state, usually either in red or black, is placed either horizontally below the rings or vertically up the hoist side of the flag. The Californian version of this flag was used at the anti-Proposition 8 rallies.

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Image by Jim Ferrigan
Delaware Rainbow Gay Flag
Used in Equal Marriage campaign.
California Rainbow Gay Flag
Those being against Proposition 8.

Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Image by Tomislav Todorovic
Georgia Rainbow Gay Flag
Used in Equal Marriage campaign.
Texas Rainbow Gay Flag
Used in Equal Marriage campaign.

During the campaign for legalization of same-sex marriages in Delaware, a Rainbow flag with the diamond and Coat-of-arms from the State flag was used, and in the California Proposition 8 fight the old California Rainbow Gay Flag reappeared. It is a California Bear State flag with the normal single red stripe which usually appears across the bottom of the flag replaced with seven small rainbow stripes. The Georgia Rainbow Flag and the Texas Rainbow flag were derived from the their state flags, from which they borrowed the hoists (blue vertical stripe charged with the state seal and star respectfully), combining them with the gay rainbow flag, whose pattern forms the flys.

Other Same-Sex Marriage/Equal Marriage flags making their appearances are using the Mars/Venus symbols centered on a rainbow background. Although they were not developed as strictly marriage equality flags, they are being used in that context. Variants on this theme included several similar designs using the Mars/Venus symbols in the canton replacing the stars, such as the 1990 Gay Pride Flag.

Variants of these basic design continue to appear and can be seen both on the Internet and at LGBT/Same Sex Marriage/Equal Marriage demonstrations, including the Rainbow Heart Flag shown on the left which has become popular in some areas.

Yes We Can Flag
(2008 Presidential Campaign)

Yes We Can Flag
(Vertical Garden Flag)

Yes We Can Campaign Flag 2008

It is rare when an American campaign slogan becomes a worldwide phenomena, but Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign slogan of "Yes We Can" seems to have transcended international boundaries and become just that. Naturally, there are flags associated with it.

The Slogan was first introduced into the American political scene in "Senator" Barack Obama's remarks after he won the Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina, the slogan has since then spread far and wide. Originally used by the Scottish National Party's campaign in the United Kingdom General Election in 1997, it was re-purposed by Obama with his words "...and where we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear by those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words - yes, we can."

It should be pointed out here that for years the slogan has been used by the character of "Bob the Builder" in the popular British children's animated television show, which in turn, we might even speculate that this might have influenced its use in the Obama family.

Whatever the origins of the slogan, it has now been adopted by the United Farm Workers and is well known amongst Latinos in its Spanish form Si se puede. In the 2014 Indian General elections, Chief Minister Narendra Modi used the chants of Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Vande Mataram to start off his Bharatiya Janata Party's campaign.

Image by Clay Moss
State of Jefferson Flag
(Political Movement - Fictitious State)

The Double-Cross Flag

With the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voting (4-1) to secede from the State of California stating that the State bureaucrats were too focused on the needs of the big cities, the seventy year old semi-serious vision of a separate northern California state was rekindled. Originally in 1941, the mayor of the small town of Port Orford (Oregon), Gilbert Gable, announced that rural areas of southern Oregon and northern California should attempt to secede from Oregon and California, forming a new state named Jefferson. These secessionists soon gave up their efforts after Gable died, and World War II started. The whole thing has been reawaken by recent the Siskiyou County Supervisors vote.

The green double-x flag was once again raised (representing the double-cross of the officials in the state capitol). It features a green field with a gold mining pan centered on it with the words "The Great Seal of State of Jefferson" engraved onto the lip, and two Xs askew of each other. The two Xs are known as the "Double-Cross", and signifies the region's sense of abandonment from the state governments in both Salem, Oregon and Sacramento, California.

Image by Pete Loeser
FSP Flag

Free State Project (USA)

The Free State Project is a New Hampshire based far-right non-violent extremist group that wants to recruit 20,000 "liberty-loving" people to move to New Hampshire to better further their cause. They look at themselves as "pro-liberty reformers," and want to form a community of other "pro-liberty people" to focus their reform efforts on the State of New Hampshire legislature. They appear to be a mishmash of classical liberals, libertarians, paleo-conservatives, constitutionalists, voluntariysts, anarcho-capitalists, anarchists, and more.

The FSP flag appears to be an interesting combining of the Tea Party re-purposed Gadsden Flag and the Free State's porcupine logo.

Image by Ivan Sache
MRE Flag

Movement for Reunification with Spain Flag 2014

The MRE (Movimiento de Reunificacion con España) is a small Puerto Rican protest movement calling for a "reunification" of Puerto Rico with Spain, which is in direct conflict with those Puerto Ricans who are campaigning for Puerto Rican statehood. The MRE wants to be "the 18th autonomous community of a country they never asked to leave." The MRE points out that Puerto Ricans "were Spanish citizens until the invasion of the island by the USA in 1898." The leader of MRE, José Nieves, who is of Canarian and Catalan desent, says that he plans to apply to the The Hague World Court to obtain the nullification of the Treaty of Paris of 1898, the treaty that transferred Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam from Spanish to US sovereignty. Nieves, believes that the Puerto Ricans will be readily accepted by the Spanish people, but most observers don't believe that the movement will gain much support in either Spain or Puerto Rico.

The flag of the MRE was unveiled in June of 2014 in San Juan (Río Piedras) and seems to be modelled on the flag used in Puerto Rico as the Republic of Puerto Rico Flag between 1873 and 1875.

US-Mexico Friendship Flag

US-Mexico-Canada Friendship Flag

US-Canada Friendship Flag
(type #1)

NAFTA Flag 1992

North American Friendship Flags

The market has been flooded with a whole collection of flags called North American Friendship flags, Canadian-American Peace Flags, Mexican-American Flags and other similar names. They are being sold in flea Markets, on the internet, and used by various groups and individuals for a variety of unrelated reasons, both as protest and message flags. By far the most popular of these "friendship" flags seem to be of the Canadian-American variety.

US-Canada Friendship Flag (Type #2)
US-Canada Friendship Flag (Type #3)
US-Canada Friendship Flag (Type #4)
US-Canada Friendship Flag (Type #5)
US-Canada Friendship Flag (Type #6)
US-Canada Friendship Flag (Type #7)

Only one of these designs is actually a flag of a real organization. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trade bloc in North America. The agreement was signed by President George H. W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas in San Antonio, Texas, on December 17, 1992. NAFTA also uses this flag as their logo.

Anonymous Organization Flag

Anonymous Flag
(black variant with title)

Anonymous Flag (black)

Anonymous Flag (green)

Anonymous Flag (white)

Anonymous Organization Flags

Anonymous is a loosely associated international network of activist, formed in 2003 on the internet, claiming they "operate on ideas rather than directives." The group is known for a series of well-publicized publicity stunts and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on government, religious, and corporate websites. They are active in the United States at various protests such as during the Occupy protests and the demonstrations at Ferguson. Anonymous members (known as "Anons") can be distinguished in public by the wearing of stylized Guy Fawkes masks and displaying a variety of flags, some of whom are illustrated here.
Anonymous US Flag
Anonymous Hope Flag
Anonymous Flag at Ferguson
(obverse side)

Anonymous Flag at Ferguson
(reverse side)

Anonymous Gadsden Flag
Anonymous Pirate Flag
Anonymous California Flag
Anonymous Michigan Flag

Unfortunately, when the events at Ferguson, MO, in November of 2014, turned violent these flags are now associated with extremism and vandalism. Interesting variants on the theme are those state specific like shown here from California and Michigan.

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