Flag of Arkansas
|Use||Civil and state flag|
|Adopted||February 26, 1913|
(modifications in 1923, 1924, and 2011)
|Design||A rectangular field of red, on which is placed a large white diamond, bordered by a wide band of blue. Across the diamond is the word 'Arkansas' and four blue stars, one above, three below the word. On the blue band are placed 25 stars.|
|Designed by||Willie K. Hocker|
The flag of Arkansas, also known as the Arkansas flag, consists of a red field charged with a large blue-bordered white lozenge (or diamond). Twenty-nine five-pointed stars appear on the flag: twenty-five small white stars within the blue border, and four larger blue stars in the white diamond. The inscription "ARKANSAS" appears in blue within the white lozenge, with one star above and three stars below. The star above and the two outer stars below point upwards; the inner star below points downwards. The flag was designed by Willie K. Hocker of Wabbaseka, a member of Pine Bluff Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
In 1912, the Pine Bluff Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution decided to present the newly commissioned battleship USS Arkansas with an official state flag. Upon learning from Secretary of State Earle W. Hodges that there was no state flag, the society members urged him to hold a contest for the design of one. A committee was appointed, and it asked for designs to be submitted for consideration. Hocker's design was "a rectangular field of red, on which is placed a large white diamond, bordered by a wide band of blue. Across the diamond is the word 'ARKANSAS'," (placed there by request of the committee) "and the blue stars, one above, two below the word. On the blue band are placed 25 white stars." This flag was adopted by the Arkansas legislature on February 26, 1913.
In 1923, the legislature added a fourth star, representing the Confederate States. This fourth star was originally placed so that there were two stars above the state name and two below; this was to include the Confederate States alongside France, Spain, and the United States. Since this disturbed the other two meanings of the original three stars, the legislature corrected this in 1924 by placing the fourth star above "ARKANSAS" and the original three stars below it, as it is today. The 1924 design was confirmed as law in 1987 by Act 116, signed by Governor Bill Clinton.
In 2011, Act 1205 (formerly House Bill 1546) was signed by Governor Mike Beebe, adding some more details to the flag. In the terms of colors, the red and blue used on the Flag of Arkansas are Old Glory Red and Old Glory Blue. The Act also stated that flags purchased by the Secretary of State must be manufactured in the United States.
In 2018, the original 1913 Arkansas State flag and a 1923 version both underwent an estimated $20,000 in restoration cost.
The flag's elements have a complex symbolism. According to the 1987 state law defining the flag, the diamond represents Arkansas' status as "the only diamond-bearing state in the Union". (Crater of Diamonds State Park was the only diamond mine in North America at the time, before more recent discoveries in Colorado and Montana. However, the state park is still the only place that the public can search for, and keep, diamonds.) The number (25) of white stars around the border of the diamond represents Arkansas' position as the 25th state to join the Union. The star above "ARKANSAS" represents the Confederacy, to which Arkansas was admitted on May 18, 1861.
The three stars below "ARKANSAS" have three separate meanings:
- The three nations to which Arkansas has belonged (France, Spain, and the U.S.)
- The Louisiana Purchase, which brought Arkansas into the U.S., was signed in 1803.
- Arkansas was the third state (after Louisiana and Missouri) formed from the Louisiana Purchase.
The statute states that the two outer, upward-pointing stars of the three are considered "twin stars" representing the "twin states" of Arkansas and Michigan, which it claims were admitted together on June 15, 1836. However, that part of the statute contains two inaccuracies:
- The three stars were in a single row in Hocker's original design; they were not arranged in a triangle until later. Though one source indicates that the "twin states" symbolism was added by the 44th Arkansas General Assembly, another states Hocker's "twin stars" are actually two of the 25 stars in the diamond, in the far left and right points; the latter is more consistent with the original design, even though Michigan is actually the 26th state.
- While both states' acts of admission were signed by President Andrew Jackson on that day and Arkansas became a state immediately, Michigan was offered admission only on condition of ceding the Toledo Strip to Ohio in exchange for the Upper Peninsula. Once that happened, it was finally admitted on January 26, 1837.
In 2001, a survey conducted by the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) placed the Arkansas state flag 45th in design quality out of the 72 Canadian provincial, U.S. state, and U.S. territory flags ranked.
The law defining the flag also defines a text to be used in saluting the flag: "I salute the Arkansas Flag with its diamond and stars. We pledge our loyalty to thee." The salute was written by author Virginia Belcher Brock.
- List of Arkansas state symbols
- List of flags by design
- List of U.S. state, district, and territorial insignia
- Hooker, Jane M. (February 28, 2018). "Willie Kavanaugh Hocker (1862–1944)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- "The Story of the Arkansas Flag". www.sos.arkansas.gov. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
- "As Governor, Bill Clinton Kept 'Confederate' Star On The Arkansas Flag". The Huffington Post. June 22, 2015. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
- "Bill Information". Arkansas State Legislature - 88th General Assembly. 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
- Lyon, John (February 28, 2011). "Flag bill flies | Arkansas News". Arkansasnews.com. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
- "Arkansas' original state flag among 2 set for $20,000 makeover". Arkansas Online. November 13, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
- Ark. Code Ann. (1987), Section 1–4–101; cited in B.F. Shearer and B.S. Shearer (2002), State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols, Greenwood Press, p. 54
- Ware, David (January 14, 2019). "Official State Flag". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- "2001 State/Provincial Flag Survey - NAVA.org" (PDF). nava.org.
- "A.C.A. § 1-4-102". Retrieved November 26, 2019.
- "Salute to the State Flag". www.sos.arkansas.gov. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
- Shearer, Benjamin F.; Shearer, Barbara S. (1987). State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: a Historical Guide. Illustrated by Jerrie Yehling Smith. New York: Greenwood Press. pp. 66–67. ISBN 0-313-24559-2. LCCN 86-27135. OCLC 779025878. OL 2732936M.
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