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8 Things About The Black Liberation Flag You May Not Know

UNIA Parade


Its Origin and the UNIA

According to the official website of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), the flag was developed in the 1920’s by the UNIA and with the support of Marcus Garvey, as a response to a racially derogatory song. The ridiculously popular 1900 coon song “Every Race Has a Flag but the Coon,”helped to solidify the term “coon” in the American vernacular.

Black Power Pan-African Flag

Pan-Africanism and the Black Liberation Flag

For years, the flag has been utilized as a symbol for the idea of Pan-Africanism and the Pan-African Movement. Dr. Minkah Makalani, a Black Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies describes Pan-Africanism as the following: “Pan-Africanism represents the complexities of Black political and intellectual thought over two hundred years. What constitutes Pan-Africanism, what one might include in a Pan-African movement often changes according to whether the focus is on politics, ideology, organizations, or culture. Pan-Africanism actually reflects a range of political views. At a basic level, it is a belief that African peoples, both on the African continent and in the Diaspora (sic), share not merely a common history, but a common destiny. This sense of interconnected pasts and futures has taken many forms, especially in the creation of political institutions.”

What people are saying

8 thoughts on “8 Things About The Black Liberation Flag You May Not Know

  1. Pa Lew says:

    According to the US Flag Code Title 1, Chapter 4, § 8(a)The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

    If you didn't notice on the Empire State Building, The red and green is displayed upside down. Displaying a flag upside down is also used as a known action of disrespect. If this was the American flag lit upside down, the media would have been in a frenzy with people calling for the person(s) job(s) and head(s).

    Overall, this is nothing more than a purposely overt, yet silent attack/joke against Black people.

  2. Pa Lew says:

    Sidique Taylor Thanks! Feel free to copy and use it

  3. Iceberg Slim says:

    Tight! But wouldn't the lion be better facing the right/east? Any particular story behind your version?

  4. Pa Lew says:

    Iceberg Slim
    The reason the lion's head is facing left is due to common practice of using predatory animals (real or fictional). This is known as the "attitude" in heraldry.

    And if you notice in a picture, if you turn your head to the right, you will appear facing left. But in reality, you are facing right. So you are observe your own 'Rights' instead of ignoring them.

    The Sun represents the source of life. The lion is for strength of the people working together (much like a pride).

    The darker inner ring of the sun rays represents a child entering adulthood (a year for each point totalling 18). The smaller diamonds represents the transition to reaching middle age and our most prosperous time of our lives upon reaching that age ( 18 years + 18 diamonds = 36 years old). The outer points respresents the adult's golden years ( 18 + 18 + 36 = 72). All together, Youth, Prosperity and Wisdom. Three things needed for a functional society.

  5. it's actually St.Kitts and Nevis…

  6. damn this is cool

  7. FYI- the term "coon song" had been around since the turn of the century. A song by Ernest Hogan, an African American composer/musician, titled "All Coons Look Alike to Me" is usually credited with popularizing the term. A dubious tribute to Mr. Hogan perhaps, but he did pioneer the art form and deserves to be noted.
    Check out the back pages of sheet music c. 1900 and you can find advertisement for upcoming "coon songs." They were very popular well before 1920.
    The information that this 1920 "coon" song popularized the term comes from Wikipedia (uncredited) so be careful about sources. The "Every Race Has a Flag…" song likely was the indignity that prompted the creation of a Pan-African flag however.

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