The Anti-Confederate Flag
Copyright Edward H. Sebesta 2009
The anti-Confederate flag was designed with several
considerations in mind to make sure it would be a very good
First, the anti-Confederate flag shouldn’t
contain a Confederate flag. For example there have been attempts to design
an anti-Confederate symbol by putting the international prohibition
over the Confederate battle flag. As a design it doesn’t work out well
since the Confederate battle flag has a cross on it and the slash in the
prohibition sign goes over a cross bar in the Confederate flag.
Additionally from a distance it looks like you are wearing the Confederate
flag. We don’t want to wear Confederate flags, not even with prohibition
signs. Also, we want our flag to express pro-democratic values and not
just a negation of the Confederate flag. We want to be for something in
opposition to the Confederate flag.
Second, we want to have this flag be
accessible to everyone, a flag that everyone who is for democratic values
can call his or her own. We want an anti-Confederate and pro-American
democratic flag that doesn’t exclude anyone and draws together different
people to be united in their opposition to the Confederate flag and
neo-Confederacy. The flag can’t specifically oriented to any one group in
society since that would make it one group’s flag and hence not others’
Third, we want a flag that is distinctive from
other flags and not likely to be confused with any other flag.
Fourth, we want a flag that is readily
recognizable and stands out and draws attention.
Fifth, it needs to be a flag with a design
compatible with flag design.
Sixth, it would be nice if it drew on
anti-Confederate flags in history.
Seventh, the flag should have an appealing
design so that people want to wear it because it has an appealing design.
Flags in History
During the Civil War there were many anti-Confederate
flags. These were modified American flags. Some Americans rearranged the
stars in the phalanxes or square pattern symbolizing readiness to face
attacks on America from any direction.
The popularity of flying an American flag started with the Civil War.
Prior to the Civil War American flags were flown at Federal buildings such
as the Post Office. With the Civil War the manufacturers were suddenly
faced with a tremendous demand for American flags which people flew as
anti-Confederate flags. The American flag with or without modifications
was seen as the anti-Confederate flag.
The nickname “Old Glory” for the American flag comes
from one Civil War episode. Capt. Driver, a retired sea captain, who moved
to Tennessee in the Nashville area before the Civil War, had taken with
him in his retirement the American flag he had flown on his ship. He was
very proud of this flag and exhibited it frequently and called it “Old
Glory.” When the Civil War broke out his flag was threatened and he hid it
inside a quilt. When the American armies liberated Nashville, he was
brought before the liberating troops and Capt. Driver exhibited his flag.
This episode was picked up by the press at the time and though Capt.
Driver and his flag are largely forgotten, the nickname “Old Glory” is
The Confederates saw the American flag as an
Anti-Confederate flag. Mobs in New Orleans tore down an American flag and
dragged it through the mud of the streets and then “tore it to shreds, and
distributed the pieces among the crowd.” In Memphis the burial of the
American flag was publicly celebrated.
Unfortunately, with the overthrow of the multi-racial
democracy of Reconstruction and the nation rejecting an Abolitionist
vision of America, by the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan felt comfortable flying
the American flag and even claimed that they were 100% Americanism. So
the American flag by itself has lost an anti-Confederate meaning.
The Phalanx flag and Capt. Drivers flags can’t be
used since they are so similar to an American flag they aren’t distinctive
and readily recognized as being something other than an American flag.
Anti-Confederate Pro-American Flag Design
This anti-Confederate flag meets all seven of the
considerations listed above. One, it doesn’t contain a Confederate flag.
Two, it is for every one of all backgrounds, it isn’t specific to one
group. Three, it is certainly distinctive from any other flag. Four, it is
readily recognizable, even from a distance. Five, it is compatible with
flag design. Six, it draw on the Civil War history of Anti-Confederate
flags by being based on the American flag. Finally, Seven, it is a design
that is appealing to people.
It isn’t just a flag against something, is a flag for
the modern multi-racial democratic America against the anti-democratic and
racist values of the Confederacy.
It has fifty stars in a blue region like the American
flag and has red and white strips like the American flag. However, both
the blue canton of the American flag and the stripes has been transformed.
This gives the flag a novel and distinctive appearance so it won’t be
confused with an American flag, but will suggest the American flag. It is
also an energetic pattern suggestive of an active struggle against
neo-Confederacy. The swallowtail ends of the flag on the right side give
the flag charm and further novelty.