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State Flag

by Josh Howard.
Research Branch, NC Office of Archives & History, 2010.
http://www.ncmarkers.com

See also: Honor and Remember Flag

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Related entry: Salute, flag

State flag of North Carolina

Some statutes relating to the flag are in the N.C. General Statutes, Chapter 144.

§ 144-1.  State flag.

The flag of North Carolina shall consist of a blue union, containing in the center thereof a white star with the letter "N" in gilt on the left and the letter "C" in gilt on the right of said star, the circle containing the same to be one third the width of said union. The fly of the flag shall consist of two equally proportioned bars, the upper bar to be red, the lower bar to be white; the length of the bars horizontally shall be equal to the perpendicular length of the union, and the total length of the flag shall be one half more than its width. Above the star in the center of the union there shall be a gilt scroll in semicircular form, containing in black letters this inscription: "May 20th 1775" and below the star there shall be a similar scroll containing in black letters the inscription: "April 12th 1776". (1885, c. 291; Rev., s. 5321; C.S., s. 7535; 1991, c. 361, s. 1.)

State flag history

In Colonial North Carolina, the flag most often seen would have been that of the colony’s mother country, England, and later Great Britain.  Prior to the Act of Union in 1707, the flag would have been that known as St. George’s Cross. After 1707, the symbol became the Union flag, incorporating the Scottish St. Andrew’s Cross with a blue field with St. George’s Cross.  Lord William Tryon carried two such flags with him during the Alamance campaign of 1771 during the War of Regulation.

Numerous locally made flags were likely utilized within the state’s borders during the Revolution, but virtually nothing is known of them.  North Carolina did not officially have a state flag until the constitutional convention of 1861.  John D. Whitford, a Craven County delegate, advocated a resolution to create a state flag consisting of a “blue field with a white V thereon, and a star, encircling which shall be the words ‘Surgit astrum, May 20, 1775.”

Convention delegates established a flag committee, but went with a different design than that proposed by Whitford.  The committee adopted a flag that would “consist of a red field with a white star in centre, and with the inscription, above the star, in a semi-circular form, of ‘May 20, 1775,’ and below the star, in a semi-circular form, of ‘May 20, 1861.’” There were also to be “two bars of equal width, and the length of the field shall be equal to the bar, the width of the field being equal to both bars; the first bar shall be blue, and the second shall be white, and the length of the flag shall be one-third more than its width.”  The new design appears to have derived from one suggested by Raleigh artist William G. Browne.   The 1775 date came from the traditional date of the controversial, and since debunked, Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  The second date commemorated the day that North Carolina seceded from the Union.  The flag ordinance was ratified on June 22, 1861.

The flag flew over North Carolina until 1885 when a new model banner was proposed by the state legislature.  The new design consisted of a blue union containing a white star in the center with a gilt N on the left and gilt C on the right, with scrolls above and below documenting, once again, the date of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, and changed the second date to April 12, 1776 in honor of the Halifax Resolves.

Despite the controversy over the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, the flag has remained little changed since 1885. Only minor modifications to the length and the elimination of two commas have occurred.

Audio: 

Additional resources:

Edmonds, W. R. 1913. The North Carolina state flag. Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards & Broughton Print. Co. Online at: http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll22,20643

Image credit:

"North Carolina State Flag." NC Secretary of State website. http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/kidspg/sym-flag.htm

Authors: 

Comments

Comment: 

This place is awsome i found everry thing i needed:)

Comment: 

As a North Carolinian I like the Civil War Era version better.

Comment: 

dont be rude to the people who created this it is rude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ps stop being haters #nohaters! #############################symbols

Comment: 

this is so hard to find something that i need!!!!!!!!!!

Comment: 

Hi --

Thanks for visiting NCpedia.  We're sorry you had trouble finding what you need.

We want to make NCpedia a valued resource for our users and as easy as possible for users to find what they need.  If you could give us more specific information about what you were looking for and what you feel made it hard to find, that would help us.

Thanks!

Kelly Agan, NCpedia Staff

 

Comment: 

What does the star on the NC flag stand for?

Comment: 

That's a great question!  Unfortunately, we don't have an answer.  The design of the state flag was created by statute of the General Assembly, although the statute doesn't specify the reason for the symbols on the flag.  And state historians continue to be unable to find evidence to answer this question.

Thanks for visiting NCpedia!

Kelly Agan, NCpedia staff, Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

Why did they choose those colors

Comment: 

That's a really good question!  

Unfortunately, we haven't found any sources that provide us with any definitive answer.  And the statute (law) that authorized the creation of the NC flag only specified the colors, not the reason for chosing them.

Historians speculate that the colors were based on the colors of the American flag (which may themselves have likely been borrowed or adapted from the British flag in colonial and revolutionary times). In the modern era, the colors have come to symbolize red for strength and valor, blue for justice, and white for purity and innocence, although historians have also questioned the extent to which the colors had these meanings for the earliest examples of the flag in the colonial and revolutionary era.  

This information from the U.S. government may help with some history on the U.S. flag.  http://publications.usa.gov/epublications/ourflag/titlepage.htm

If you come across more information in your research, please let us know!

Kelly Agan, NCpedia staff

Comment: 

this helped me alot!!!!!!!!! thanks for posting it!!!!

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