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Afro-American flags (U.S.)

Last modified: 2005-12-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | afro-american | heritage | ethiopia | pan-african | garvey | rasta |
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[Afro-American Red-Black-Green flag] image by Rick Wyatt, 5 April 1998

Green, black, and red are the Garvey colors, after Marcus Garvey, a civil rights movement leader. If I recall correctly, he promoted the "returning to Africa" -- if not geographically, at least by "rediscovering" the ancestral heritage of afro-americans.
Antonio Martins, 11 December 1997

The colors are as represented on the flag, Red, Black and Green (not Green, black and red ) and did indeed evolve from Marcus Garvey's UNIA movement. However, the colors were adopted by an international assemblage of 25 countries of the African diaspora, thereby making the colors international.

African Americans have held proudly onto their banner for the past 78 years hoisting it under various titles: International African Flag, The African Flag, Pan African Flag, Liberation Flag, Black Flag, African American Flag, Afro-American Flag and others. Yes, the colors were hoisted first in the United States and, it represents all peoples of the African Diaspora regardless of land of birth.

Rasta colors and The Pan African (Garvey Flag) colors not the same and should not be confused. Rasta colors are the Ethiopian colors of green, gold and red.

Beatrice C. Jones, 16 November 1998

The RED, BLACK and GREEN Flag was unveiled to the world by the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey and the members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, of the World at it's first international convention on August 13, 1920. The UNIA-ACL knew that Africans at home and abroad needed their own flag as other flags around the world could not represent the collective of African people.

The use of Red, Black and Green as colors symbolizing African nationhood was first "adopted by the UNIA-ACL as part of the 1920 Declaration of Rights as the official colors of the African race. The question of a flag for the race was not as trivial as might have appeared on the surface, for in the United States especially, the lack of an African symbol of nationhood seems to have been cause for crude derision on the part of whites and a source of sensitivity on the part of Afro-Americans.

The race catechism Garveyites used explained the significance of the red, black, and green as for the "color of the blood which men must shed for their redemption and liberty", black for "the color of the noble and distinguished race to which we belong," and green for "the luxuriant vegetation of our Motherland.

Nnamdi Azikewe, 12 April 2000

My understanding is that Garvey thought (erroneously) that these were the colors of ancient Ethiopia - the Ethiopia of today was known as Abyssinia at the time Garvey proposed the flag.
Devereaux Cannon and Ned Smith, 10 July 1999

My understanding is that Marcus Garvey was thinking of contemporary Ethiopia, which in the 1920's was the only African country that had never been colonized. He became aware of his error as to its national colors at the time of Haile Selassie's coronation as emperor, but by that time the red/black/green flag was too well established to be changed.
John Ayer, 10 July 1999

13 Stripes

[Afro-American 13 Stripes flag] image by Michael P. Smuda, 6 November 1998

I found another Afro-American flag while surfing the web. This flag was developed in 1989 in South Central L.A.
According to the site, the symbolism of the colors is as follows:
        GOLD is for the richness of the people
        BLACK is for the people
        RED is for the blood shed
        Green is for the earth
Dov Gutterman, 6 November 1998

I have never heard of this one. The red/black/green flag is made by all flag manufacturers. My guess is that this is a private venture.
Rick Wyatt, 8 November 1998

African American Unity flag

[African American Unity flag] image by António Martins, 27 August 1999

The African American Unity Flag (AAUF) was designed by Mr. Vincent W. Paramore of Miami Florida. Mr. Paramore has a United States design Patent #Des;316.383 which can be seen in the official patent gazette at any Depository Library in the United States. Meaning in brief:

The Flag tells the history of a people who originated from Africa and found themselves in a new land stripped of their Religion, Culture, Language and History. It also memorializes black heroes and heroines known and unknown. The AAUF Serves to salute our continued progress for total freedom and equality.
Jarig Bakker, 27 August 1999

African American Flag House flag

[African American Flag House flag] image by Rick Wyatt, 3 December 2001

Info was found on their (no longer active) website

Submitted by Dov Gutterman, 4 April 1999