When you’ve grown accustomed to seeing the United States flag in the traditional colors of red, white, and blue, your curiosity is sure to peak when you see it in different shades- especially in monochromatic colors like black and white.
However, these color changes don’t come without reason. While the US flag’s colors represent purity, valor, and justice in their customary shades, the flag’s meaning changes drastically with a lack of hue. Though its story may not be as well known as its more colorful counterpart, the black and white American flag has a history worth talking about.
The First Appearance Of The Black And White Flag
The popularity of the black and white American flag has heightened in modern years, specifically in times of civil unrest, and with the history of the flag rooted in that, there’s no surprise why groups choose the flag as a symbol for their cause.
The Black And White Flag In History
The exact year has yet to be pinpointed, but the flag has origins traced between 1861 and 1865. In spite of research, there has yet to be a concise answer as to what the black-and-white flag originally represented, but it seems the most popular answer is that it was created as a counter to the all-white flag- which is known to represent surrender.
Though an all-black flag could easily represent an unwillingness to surrender, it would also make it impossible to distinguish the symbol as something inherently American, therefore the black and white flag was made to showcase the recognizable stars and stripes- but to still characterize a refusal to back down.
America isn’t the only country to turn to monochromatic versions of their flags to showcase a lack of surrender, so it’s not surprising that the meaning of the black and white flag has changed and grown with the country, even in modern days.
The Black And White Flag In Modern Day Usage
Since the black and white American flag was born during a time of unrest, it makes sense that it’s being used today as a symbol of civil unhappiness. There is a certain amount of controversy surrounding the black and white flag in recent times, especially when one of the lines on the flag is replaced symbolizing a certain message.
This flag style is called “thin line”- and is used to show respect or support for a certain group or demographic working underneath the United States. There are thin lines for the military, emergency medical, fire service, and law enforcement- but there are thin lines for more than just government-organized groups.
There are also thin lines for prejudiced demographics- including those suffering from suicidal thoughts, those in the LGBTQ+ community, and even those who are fighting cancer.
No longer a symbol of defense, it seems that the black-and-white American flag has shifted from being representative of a lack of surrender, to now being an emblem of support for certain societal groups in the United States.