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  • Writer's pictureThe Dayton Weekly News

Everything You Need To Know About the Black American Heritage Flag

Its History and Symbolizism


Learn about what it symbolizes and its significance for Black Americans.


As the name of the flag suggests, the Black American Heritage Flag is a symbol that represents the culture and history of African Americans. For centuries, people from all over the world have waved the flags of their homeland to display a sense of pride for where they came from. And after being created in 1967, this flag is now embraced by Black Americans celebrating and honoring America's Black culture.


You will typically see the Black American Heritage Flag flown during Black History Month, if not year-round. And although the flag does not include all of the colors used to represent Black History Month, each color in this flag and its symbol has a distinct meaning.


Learn all about the Black American Heritage Flag as we look at the details of what the flag stands for, who designed it and why it needed to be created.


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What Does the Black American Heritage Flag Stand For?

The Black American Heritage Flag represents the pride and accomplishments of Black Americans. But it is even more than that. Along with celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans, this flag also symbolizes the struggles and pain that were endured throughout history. In remembering both the accomplishments and the pain, this flag was created as a way to make progress and offer hope to Black Americans.


The flag is made up of the colors red and black with a distinct symbol in gold. A lot of thought went into the design of the flag and each part of it has a significant meaning. Like the colors for Black History Month, red represents the innocent blood shed by Black Americans throughout America's history and black signifies pride in the Black race. The color gold, in the symbol, represents intellect, prosperity and . And the symbol itself—made up of a blunted sword and a fig wreath—has its own meaning. The sword is meant to instill pride and the fig wreath symbolizes peace, prosperity and everlasting .


Melvin Charles and Gleason T. Jackson de-signed the flag in 1967. However, their inspiration began much earlier, when Charles realized that other groups of people, like those with Italian and Hispanic heritage, had a flag at parades, while African Americans did not. Charles and Jackson put a lot of thought, research and intentionality into creating the Black American Heritage Flag, as Charles also wrote a book called The Rallying Point. In it, he describes the struggle to promote the Black American Heritage Flag. It details all of the ups and downs that Charles and Jackson went through while attempting to pro-mote the flag. Their story is a lesson in perseverance against all odds.



As Charles says in the book, "That we have survived at all is testimony to that strength and greatness and that survival is warrant enough to justify finding pride in who we are. The flag was meant to symbolize that pride. It still does."


In general, flags are used as a visual symbol of a cause or identity. The use of flags goes all the way back to ancient Roman times, representing military affiliations on the battlefield.

Today, flags are used to unite and remember the past. Each country can turn to its respective flag to feel that sense of solidarity and loyalty to its homeland. For this very reason, the Black American Heritage Flag was created.

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