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Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts (U.S.)

Dukes County

Last modified: 2011-07-08 by rick wyatt
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Description of the flag

In 1976, it was proposed to merge Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, which at that time comprised two districts for electing representatives to the Great and General Court (Legislature) of Massachusetts, with an area of Cape Cod in order to make up the required population due to the reduction of the total number of legislators passed in 1970. There was a great public outcry on the two islands over this.

On 16 February 1977, the selectmen of the seven towns forming Martha's Vineyard voted in favor of secession from Massachusetts to become the 51st State or an independent nation. On 18 February David Brinkley, on the NBC-TV evening news, stated "we've designed what we thought would be a nice flag for the Vineyard should it decide to become an independent nation--one star, one stripe, and one seagull. If they decide to become a monarchy, they could add a crown."

[Flag of Martha's Vineyard] by Dave Martucci, 22 January 1997

A Martha's Vineyard summer resident, Fran Forman, also designed a flag for the secessionist state on 20 February 1977. Her flag was intended to represent both islands (Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket).

[Flag of Martha's Vineyard] by Dave Martucci, 22 January 1997

It displays a blue field for the sea and sky, an orange-red sun for warmth, and a white seagull representing the wildlife of the island.

Forman was a member of the Martha's Vineyard Statehood Support Committee, who stated in a communique that the flag would emphasize "the independence aspirations of the Islanders and to draw attention to the gerrymandering disaster which has linked Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket with the outer arm of Cape Cod in the new state representative district."

The flag was given national attention, as were the declaration of independence and the national anthem which soon followed. As a result of the publicity, offers were made by other states for the islands to join. Official or unofficial interest was expressed by New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Kansas, and Vermont (whose House of Representatives adopted a resolution favoring discussion of the issue).

Later, in the spring of 1977, voters in the eight towns (the 7 towns of Martha's Vineyard: Edgartown, Chilmark, Tisbury, West Tisbury, Gay Head, Oak Bluff, and Gosnold plus the town of Nantucket) all approved secession from Massachusetts in a non-binding referenda.

Dave Martucci, 22 January 1997