LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (NewsNation Now) — A lawmaker in Arkansas has filed a bill that would change the state flag, stripping it of its Confederate ties.
The bill states it would restore the flag to the design adopted in 1913.
That design was created by Willie K. Hocker, a member of a Pine Bluff chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and shows a rectangular field of red with a large white diamond bordered by 25 white stars on a blue band. Her initial design had three blue stars centered in the white diamond, but the flag committee asked her to add the word “Arkansas” to the center of the diamond.
The colors chosen for the 1913 flag design meant that Arkansas was one of the United States of America. The three blue stars had three meanings: Arkansas belonged to three countries (France, Spain, and the United States) before attaining statehood; 1803 was the year of the Louisiana Purchase when the land that is now Arkansas was acquired by the United States; and Arkansas was the third state created from the purchase by the United States, after Louisiana and Missouri.
The design also had no indication that Arkansas had been a member of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. It was adopted by the 39th General Assembly on Feb. 26, 1913.
In 1923, the state legislature added a fourth blue star to the design, but some lawmakers were not pleased.
Later in 1924, the legislature placed three blue stars below the word “Arkansas” and one above, the way the flag is today. The three stars below “Arkansas” retained the meaning Hocker had set and the lone star above the word is to commemorate Arkansas’ membership in the Confederacy.
The twenty-five stars indicate that Arkansas was the 25th state to be admitted to the Union. The diamond represents Arkansas as the nation’s first diamond-producing state. The two parallel white stars at the left and right points of the diamond symbolize the dual admission of Arkansas and Michigan to the Union. Both were admitted to the Union at about the same time: Arkansas on June 15, 1836, and Michigan on January 26, 1837.
If the bill is adopted, it would go into effect June 15, 2022.
NewsNation affiliate KNWA, Arkansas Secretary of State History of Arkansas State Flag and the Encyclopedia of Arkansas contributed to this article.