Flags are a time-honored tradition that allows us to outwardly display our beliefs and allegiances for all to see.
Most of us will have a large number of flag designs stored in our memories, and we’ll recognize the flags that represent our own country, some foreign countries (especially if we love sports), and things that have meaning to us.
However, sometimes we see a flag that we don’t recognize, or one that we do recognize but looks different from what we are used to, and we just have to know what it means.
An example of this is the black American flag. It looks just like the normal American flag, but it is composed entirely of different shades of black. So, what do black flags generally mean?
What Did Black Flags Mean in History?
There have been a few different uses for black flags in history, and most of them are related to piracy. If you’ve watched any pirate movie or TV series, you’ll be familiar with the Jolly Roger – a black flag with a white skull and crossbones in the middle.
Famous films like the Pirates of the Caribbean series have used the skull and crossbones flag to clearly represent who the pirates are in the story, but the flag did really exist, and it is what we all think of as the pirate flag today.
When it came to war, hoisting a black flag meant that the army would give no quarter. Another way to say this is “take no prisoners,” meaning that any survivors on the losing side would be killed, not kept as prisoners of war. It was the opposite of a white flag, which meant surrender.
It’s important to note that the “give no quarter” flag may have been a plain black flag or one with a special symbol, but it would never have been an American flag.
Another historical use of a black flag was to show that a ship was infected with the plague, so other ships would not come near and people in the harbor would know to stay away. Plague ships, also known as death ships, were usually destroyed in the harbor with all their cargo, while the passengers and crew were quarantined until they died or recovered.
So, where does the black American flag come from, and what does it mean? Let’s find out.
What Does the Black American Flag Mean?
Despite what some Americans would like you to believe, the all-black American flag is not an old or traditional symbol used by the Confederates during the Civil War. It was created in the 1950s, and although it had some popularity then, it’s not entirely clear what people intended its meaning to be.
It really gained traction in 2021 during the far-right protests against Covid rules and restrictions, such as getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and staying at home – ironic, given how a black flag was historically used to distinguish plague ships from those that were plague-free.
In recent years, Republican Americans have started to display the flag to show that they are anarchists who refuse to follow these rules. And by saying that the flag means “give no quarter,” whether it is true or not, they show that they are willing to kill for what they believe in.
The fact that the people using this flag are trying to pass it off as a symbol of the Confederacy should tell you all you need to know about them. The Confederates were fighting to keep slavery intact, and these people are showing their support for that goal.
The Politics Behind the Black American Flag
There may not be an open civil war in America at the moment, but nobody can deny that the Republican/Democrat debate has become more than a little heated in the course of the last decade. Many Republicans have not been shy in letting everyone know that they think death is a fitting punishment for many crimes.
The newly-minted tradition of the black American flag seems to be largely related to the obsession of many Republican Americans with former President Donald Trump. The flag is even for sale on Trumpshop.net for those “patriotic” anarchists.
In reality, the people who choose to fly the black American flag are usually racist conspiracy theorists with an almost religious support for the former President.
They are strong believers in their Second Amendment rights, taking their right to bear arms far further than is necessary. This may be cause for concern when paired with their use of the black American flag as a symbol of no quarter given.
People like this seem to believe that the freedoms America provides its citizens with should apply only to them, and that everyone who is different from them, whether in skin color, sexual orientation, political leanings, or personal beliefs, is the enemy.
The Controversy of the Black American Flag
Whatever the people flying this flag think it means, there is a lot of controversy surrounding its use. Even if Republicans are only flying the flag as a symbol of their unhappiness with the status quo, it is still seen as disrespectful by many people.
The white, red, and blue American flag stands for values like freedom and justice, and opponents of the black flag believe that it is an insult to these values. America’s ideals are meant to be about unity and national purpose, but the black flag denotes division and hatred.
So, while it is not illegal to fly a black American flag, it is a symbol that could be taken as a sign of disrespect, hatred, or even violence, by neighbors and passersby.
The black American flag is being touted as a traditional symbol of anarchy or defiance against the government, used by the Confederates during the Civil War to mean that no quarter will be given. However, this is not the case.
The flag was invented in the 1950s, and quickly gained popularity among American Republicans during the course of the Covid lockdown.
People flying this flag are outwardly showing their unhappiness with the current state of affairs, alongside their hatred for anyone who is different from themselves.
It is not illegal to fly the black American flag, but it may be seen as a sign of hostility by those who see it, and people who fly it should be avoided or watched, as their belief in violence for solving problems could affect those around them.