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Martin Luther King Jr. (U.S.)

Last modified: 2014-06-29 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | martin luther king | dr. king |
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I saw earlier this year a description of the symbolism of what was called the King flag. There was no picture, but a detailed explanation of the significance of the various design elements.

The article I am talking about was in the on-line edition of the St.Louis Post-Dispatch, 8. January 1998. I will quote it in full:

The King flag is full of symbolism

Yvonne Samuel

Here's a look at the significance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. flag that will be used in celebrations nationwide this year:

* The expression on his face in the circle is one of contemplative regret, as if to say: "I have seen the promised land; I may not get there with you."
* The black circle represents the never-ending struggle of African-Americans to achieve freedom and justice.
* The 22 stars represent the 22 times King went to jail fighting for justice and equality. They also represent the students who engaged in sit-ins all over the South. He had said, "Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars" who are the dedicated civil rights workers. King considered other stars in the civil rights movement to be the freedom riders who decided to take a ride for freedom to end segregation. And he said the stars were "the Negroes in Albany, Ga., who decided to straighten their backs up, and when men and women straighten their backs up they are going somewhere, because a man can't ride your back unless it is bent." The stars also were "the Negroes of Birmingham, Ala., who aroused the conscience of this nation and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill." And King said the darker the hour, the brighter they shone.
* The five stripes represent the colors of the whole human race, for whose freedom King sacrificed his life.
* And the green background comes from the 23rd Psalm - "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he restoreth my soul."
So this flag has a green background and five stripes in various colours, a black circle probably set with Martin Luther King's face, and 22 stars. It has more colours than the flag Dan described so it is probably a different one.

Jan Oskar Engene, 19 February 1998

The King center sells it right there at the center. the Flag I saw is either 3x5, or 4x6 I can't now remember. Top to bottom the strips are: Yellow, white, red, brown, black, and they are are all equal in proportion. The black circle sits a few inches from the hoist, and runs around to just above the black strip, and just below the yellow strip, and since it is a circle you can figure out where the other side would end. Dr. King is looking out from the flag, but seems to be looking past the viewer. There is a colored background behind him but I can't tell what the color is, it could well be green. The flag is flying in front of a small outdoor chapel, which is just to one side of his tomb.
Dan Fairbanks, 19 February 1998