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Arkansas (U.S.)

Last modified: 2018-07-31 by rick wyatt
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[Flag of the State of Arkansas] image by Zachary Harden, 31 July 2018



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In 1836, a star was added, representing Arkansas, bringing the total number of stars on the U.S. flag to 25. There were thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.


Description of the Flag

The Arkansas state flag, designed by Miss Willie K. Hocker of Wabbaseka, Arkansas, was adopted in 1913.
Dov Gutterman, 13 October 1998

ARKANSAS CODE

Section 1-4-101. State flag.
(a) The official state flag shall be a rectangle of red on which is placed a large white diamond, bordered by a wide band of blue on which are twenty-five (25) white stars. Across the diamond shall be the word "ARKANSAS" and four (4) blue stars, with one (1) star above and three (3) stars below the word "ARKANSAS". The star above the word "ARKANSAS" shall be below the upper corner of the diamond. The three (3) stars below the word "ARKANSAS" shall be placed so that one (1) star shall be above the lower corner of the diamond and two (2) stars shall be placed symmetrically, parallel above and to the right and left of the star in the lower corner of the diamond.

(b) The three (3) stars so placed are designed to represent the three (3) nations, France, Spain, and the United States, which have successively exercised dominion over Arkansas. These stars also indicate that Arkansas was the third state carved out of the Louisiana Purchase. Of these three (3) stars, the twin stars parallel with each other signify that Arkansas and Michigan are twin states, having been admitted to the Union together on June 15, 1836. The twenty-five (25) white stars on the band of blue show that Arkansas was the twenty-fifth state admitted to the Union. The blue star above the word "ARKANSAS" is to commemorate the Confederate States of America. The diamond signifies that this state is the only diamond-bearing state in the Union.
Joe McMillan, 8 February 2000

The Act 116 of 1987 that "adopted" the state flag put into state law House Concurrent Resolution 11 of the Second Extraordinary Session of 1924. So then Governor Bill Clinton made official what was a "de facto" practice. A booklet from the Secretary of State shows the adoption date of the original flag as 1913 with amendments in 1923 and 1924.
https://www.netstate.com/states/symb/flags/documents/ar_flag_protocol.pdf

On April 4th, 2011, House Bill 1546 was signed into law by Governor Mike Beebe regarding slight modifications of the state flag. The modifications "would require that the official flag use Old Glory Red and Old Glory Blue, or their equivalents, and be American-made." arkansasnews.com/2011/02/28/flag-bill-flies

 If you manage to read a little deeper in the article, you will see this gem:
"Zachary Harden, a 24-year-old Arkansas Tech University student from Bella Vista who is studying political science, testified that he asked Hutchinson to file the bill after discovering that Arkansas flags currently in use vary in color and often are from Taiwan or China and cheaply made."

The making inside the United States was not my original idea, yet surrounding states like Oklahoma, Tennessee and Missouri had such laws in the books or in the works. There are no Pantone specifications set down, because various states have different shades. I kept it to what is published in the Defense Specification DDD-F-416 F, which just said OG Red and OG Blue.
Zachary Harden, 22 May 2011

I contend that the [blue] stars [as used on Arkansan flags today] are too big; an article I have called "Arkansas' Flag Is Fifty Years Old " (Walter L. Brown; The Arkansas Historical Quarterly Vol. 22, No. 1 (Spring, 1963), pp. 3-7) shows the stars as about 75% of the size of that of the current state flag. Another source, "The Flag Book of the United States "(1970, Plate XIV) by the late Dr. Whitney Smith, shows the stars on all official versions (1913, 1923 and 1924/current) as the same size. Both sources show the center of the state name text is the "true center" of the 1913 flag, while the current flag has the "true center" of the flag as the resting point for the bottom of the state name text. The state name text was at the "true center" of the original 1913 flag while the stars were arranged to however it was desired by Ms. Hocker (the designer of the flag). Smith 1970 shows the 1923 flag with the text in the center of the flag but in a smaller size. Brown 1963 shows the text in the 1923 and 1924/current flags as the same size and both with the base of the text resting on the "true center" line. However, there is no legislation to show how big the stars are supposed to be nor orientation.
Zachary Harden, 29 December 2017

In 2010/2011 before I drafted what eventually became Act 1205 (formerly House Bill 1546), I offered to have a specific font but didn't think of the star pattern. The original pattern, of which a replica was flown (upside down, mind you) is at https://twitter.com/ARSecofState. The Secretary of State, who not only handle the state symbols but also the state elections cleared the way for Act 1205 to become law before it reached the Governor's desk. The design is that by Hocker, the side star patterns were slanted and they were kept that way. Annin, the company who makes the flags for the State of Arkansas, uses the slanted star pattern and every flag I have seen in an official capacity shows the stars in a slanted manner. It seems to be a matter of what Hocker designed and it was kept that way without any official specifications or resolutions/laws to that effect.

The Old State House Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas, does hold a flag in its collection that flew over the USS Arkansas during WWII; that flag has the stars all straight (https://oldstatehouse.worldsecuresystems.com/donate). However, this is more the exception, rather than the rule.
Zachary Harden, 29 December 2017


History and Meaning of the Flag

Source: https://www.sos.arkansas.gov/education/arkansas-history/history-of-the-flag/story-of-the-flag

The battleship U.S.S. Arkansas was to be commissioned and the Pine Bluff chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution voted to present a state flag to the ship. But first, the flag committee of the chapter had to learn about the state flag. A letter to the Secretary of State Earl W. Hodges was sent by a committee of three, Mrs. C.W. Pettigrew (whose idea it was in the first place), Mrs. W.A. Taggart and Mrs. Frank Tomlinson. Before long they had the answer: there was no state flag.

The Pine Bluff group decided to correct the situation by holding a statewide flag contest. Mr. Hodges was asked to act as custodian for entries. Sixty-five separate designs were entered in the contest. Some were crayon drawings and some were flag miniatures on silk.

As the state flower, the apple blossom appeared on a number of designs. One centered with the flower was scattered with stars representing the United States. There were thirteen rays on it for the original states and the colors were red, white and blue. One flag used just the apple blossom, four of them in colorful blocks. Another design used the outline of Arkansas and the state seal with red, white and blue.

Mr. Hodges was chairman of the committee to select the flag and he chose a distinguished list of members: Dr. Junius Jordan, the chairman of philosophy and pedagogy at the University of Arkansas; Mrs. Julia McAlmont Noel, a member of the John McAlmont Chapter of the D.A.R. in Pine Bluff; Miss Julia Warner, a teacher in the Little Rock school system, and Mrs. P. H. Ellsworth, a former president of the Arkansas Federation of Women's Clubs.

In the early days of 1913 the committee gathered in Mr. Hodges' office and worked on choosing a flag. As a winner they chose the red, white and blue design of Miss Willie Hocker of Wabbaseka, a member of the Pine Bluff chapter of the D.A.R., where the search originated.

[Flag of Arkansas - First Draft 1913] image by Clay Moss, 6 August 2007

On a rectangular field of red, Miss Hocker had placed a large white diamond bordered by twenty-five white stars on a blue band. Three blue stars in a straight line were centered in the diamond.

Miss Hocker explained that the colors in her design meant that Arkansas was one of the United States of America. The three blue stars had four meanings: Arkansas belonged to three countries (France, Spain, and the United States) before attaining statehood; 1803 was the year of the Louisiana Purchase when the land that is now Arkansas was acquired by the United States; Arkansas was the third state created from the purchase by the United States; and the two stars below and parallel to the name Arkansas signify that Arkansas and Michigan are twin states. Both states were admitted to the Union about the same time - Arkansas on June 15, 1836, and Michigan on January 26, 1837.

[Flag of Arkansas - Final Draft 1913] image by Clay Moss, 7 August 2007

The twenty-five stars meant that Arkansas was the twenty-fifth state to be admitted to the Union. The diamond represents Arkansas as the nation's only diamond-producing state. The committee decided the flag needed to include the state's name. Miss Hocker agreed and suggested the three blue stars be arranged with one above the name and two below.

On February 26, 1913, the legislature made Miss Hocker's design the state's official flag. The U.S.S. Arkansas received her flag from the Pine Bluff Chapter of the D.A.R.

[Flag of Arkansas - 1923] image by Clay Moss, 7 August 2007

Then there was trouble...there was no indication on the flag that Arkansas had been a member of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. To correct that, the legislature in 1923 added a fourth blue star above the letter "R" in Arkansas and moved the single blue star to a position above the last "A". But, a furor arose and many claimed that the original symmetry and meaning of the design were destroyed.

So in 1924 the legislature placed three blue stars below the word "Arkansas" and one above, the way the flag is today.

The three stars below "Arkansas" retained the meaning Miss Hocker had set and the lone star above the word is to commemorate Arkansas' membership in the Confederacy.

And so it remains today...a proud banner that flies for all Arkansans.
submitted by Chris Young, 2 August 1999

The design by Miss Hocker was one of sixty-five in the second call for the flag committee as the first one did not yield any results. (The High Lights of Arkansas History, Dallas Tabor Herndon, Pg. 156)
Zachary Harden, 29 December 2017


State Pledge

"I Salute the Arkansas Flag With Its Diamond and Stars. We Pledge Our Loyalty to Thee."
Phil Nelson, 13 August 1999

Adopted by House Concurrent Resolution No. 23, Acts 1953, p. 1510; it also appeared earlier in A.S.A. 1947, 5-108.
Zachary Harden, 29 December 2017


State Military Crest

image by Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000

The state military crest, which is the crest used in the coats of arms of units of the National Guard, as granted by the precursor organizations of what is now the Army Institute of Heraldry. The official Institute of Heraldry blazon is "Above two sprays of apple blossoms proper, a diamond argent charged with four mullets azure, one in upper point and three in lower, within a bordure of the last bearing 25 mullets of the second."
Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000


AR Version of CSA Statement Flag

[AR Confederate statement flag] image by Randy Young, 22 January 2016

I found a flag for Arkansas using the central diamond device from the Arkansas state flag to replace the central star of the official confederate naval jack. These flags became popular in the South during the debates and arguments that began in 2001 over the 1956 Georgia state flag. In each case, the 1956 Georgia flag design was adapted to one of the former Confederate states by replacing the Georgia state seal with the seal or other prominent flag emblem from one of the states. The idea behind the flags following this pattern was to show support for and solidarity with the supporters of the 1956 Georgia state flag design.
Randy Young, 22 January 2016