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Mobile, Alabama (U.S.)

Last modified: 2005-12-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: mobile | alabama | mardi gras |
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[flag of Mobile, Alabama] image by Joe McMillan

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City Flag

The flag is white with red and blue stripes near the upper and lower edges and the city seal in the middle. The photo of the flag looks like the seal may be rendered all in gold, but it's not certain, so I've used the color copy of the seal from A photo of the flag flying can be seen here.
Joe McMillan, 5 March 2004

Also visible, although barely, at the Mobile home page,, I can't make out the central device, but issuing from the top of it is an array of flags, obviously intended to represent those that have flown over the city. The red-yellow-red Spanish triband is visible; I assume the one to the viewer's left (which is white) is the French white flag seme-de-lis. A number of Google hits indicate recent controversy over a decision by the city government to remove the confederate battle flag from this seal, but I don't recall whether it was replaced by the Stars & Bars, something else, or nothing.
Joe McMillan, 1 March 2004

Mobile did not have an official city flag until a design was suggested by Commissioner Lambert C. Mims, and this was approved in a conference meeting on December 4, 1968, by the Board of City Commissioners. No Ordinance was adopted, but it is a part of the Minutes of the meeting of December 4, 1968, as recorded in the book. The official City Seal, which is used on this flag was adopted as the City Seal in 1961 with only slight changes from a design used in the 250th anniversary celebration. The sea gull and ship are significant because Mobile is among the nation's ten major seaports, and the cotton bale was responsible for much of Mobile's early growth and prosperity. The tall building and mill depict the many industries which have come to Mobile in recent years.  A resolution in August of 2000 was made to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the official City Seal and replace it with the Third National Flag of the Confederate States of America.
Kathleen Moore, MHDC Secretary, 4 March 2004

Mobile Historical Development Commission

At is the coat of arms of the Historic Development Commission. The arms are mantled in gold with a golden cockle shell as a crest, attached to the mantling itself. The arms themselves appear to be a Spanish-style shield divided both horizontally and vertically into six small flaglets, if I may coin a phrase, three above the horizontal division and one inside each of the vertical ones. Each flaglet represents a country which ruled over Mobile from the time of its first European settlement to the present: these flags are, in the top row (a) the Bourbon lilies of France, gold on a white field; (b) the pre-1802 Union Jack of Britain; (c) the Castle and Lion of Spain (technically Leon and Castile), divided per bend sinister. In the bottom row is a flag which I do not recognize which appears to be a figure of a woman in white on a blue field with some golden objects on each side of her, which I take to be the flag of the short-lived Republic of West Florida. This is followed by a Confederate flag of a somewhat unusual pattern (I don't think I have ever seen a Confederate flag with a blue stripe in the fly before), and finally a contemporary fifty-star U.S. flag.
Ron Lahav, 25 February 2004

The "woman in white" is the device from the so-called flag of the Republic of Alabama (1861), actually the flag donated to and used by the secession convention in January of that year. The obverse shows Liberty carrying a sword in one hand and a flag in the other. She's usually shown with a red dress, not white, but I'm not sure of the basis for that; remnants of the original are housed at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and described and discussed in more detail at This flag is also mentioned but not shown on the Alabama page.
Joe McMillan, 1 March 2004

A local preservationist has given us the name of Jim Gray as the artist for the MHDC shield. Done in the early 1960s when there was no staff for the Commission and only scrapbooks were used. It is rumored that these scrapbooks were destroyed with the 1979 Hurricane Frederick wind and water at City Hall. The flags [on the MHDC Shield] represent the six governments which have ruled our city, beginning with the French in 1702, followed by the British and the Spanish. It was not until April 15, 1815 that President James Madison ordered that the town be seized for the United States; since he claimed Mobile as a part of the Louisiana Purchase. The first town charter was granted on January 20, 1814.
Kathleen Moore, MHDC Secretary, 4 March 2004

Mardi Gras flags

[Mardi Gras Flag] image by Joe McMillan

In 1987 the city of Mobile, Alabama, adopted a flag for its own Mardi Gras celebration, which actually predates that in New Orleans--that is to say, the kind of Mardi Gras celebration with parades and masked balls conducted by "secret" societies and the crowning of kings and queens of carnival. Mobile considers the use of green by New Orleans a modern innovation; Mobile recognizes only purple and gold as the colors of carnival. Its flag is a horizontal purple-yellow-purple triband with a purple mask on the center below a strip of purple ribbon marked with yellow lozenges forming the shape of an M. Below the emblem [unfortunately] is the name of the city in purple letters.
Source:  The page also shows the Mardi Gras flag of Fairhope, Alabama, a smaller city on the other side of Mobile Bay from Mobile itself.

Although the photo appears to show the yellow stripe wider than the purple ones, it appears to me from the stretch marks in the upper hoist and fly that part of the photo is cropped. I've assumed a ratio of 3:5 and equal stripes in the image above.
Joe McMillan, 24 February 2004

The Mobile Mardi Gras timeline reports:

"1987 - The Mobile City Council officially adopts a Mardi Gras Flag for Mobile. The flag bears the colors of purple and gold, with a serpentine "M" floating over a traditional mask."
By the way, this site dates the adoption of the New Orleans Mardi Gras flag and colors to 1872, which would have been when the Krewe of Rex (officially the "School of Design") was founded.
Joe McMillan, 25 February 2004