NWA lawmaker files bill to remove star from Arkansas flag that designates Confederacy

Northwest Arkansas News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — An Arkansas State Representative from Washington County has filed a bill that would change the Arkansas state flag, stripping it of its Confederate ties.

Democrat State Representative David Whitaker of District 85 filed the three-page, House Bill 1790, Thursday morning.

The Bill states it would restore the flag to the design adopted in 1913.

“At the request of the flag committee chaired by the Secretary of State during the 1913 legislative session, Miss Willie K. Hocker added the word “ARKANSAS” in the center of the white diamond, and the three (3) blue stars were located with one (1) above, and two (2) below the word ‘ARKANSAS,'” the bill states.

1913 Arkansas State Flag

On February 26, 1913, the 39th General Assembly adopted the revised flag design of Willie K. Hocker; and the state flag of Arkansas should be restored to the revised design of Willie K. Hocker adopted on February 26, 1913.

Willie K. Hocker

The 1913 design winner, Hocker of Wabbaseka, a member of the Pine Bluff chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, shows a rectangular field of red, a large white diamond bordered by 25 white stars on a blue band. Three blue stars in a straight line were centered in the diamond.

The Bill filed Thursday states: “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 three (3) blue stars, with one (1) star above and two (2) stars below the word ‘ARKANSAS’. The star above the word ‘ARKANSAS’ shall be below the upper corner of the diamond.”

The original design had no indication on the flag that Arkansas had been a member of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865.

In 1923, the state legislature 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 some lawmakers were not pleased with the redesign.

1923 Arkansas State Flag

Later 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 meanings Hocker had set and the lone star above the word is to commemorate Arkansas’ membership in the Confederacy.

Current Arkansas State Flag

The colors in the 1913 design meant that Arkansas was one of the United States of America. The three blue stars had three 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; and Arkansas was the third state created from the purchase by the United States, after Louisiana and Missouri.

The twenty-five stars mean that Arkansas was the twenty-fifth state to be admitted to the Union. The diamond represents Arkansas as the nation’s first diamond-producing state. The two parallel white stars at the left and right points of the diamond symbolize the dual admission of Arkansas and Michigan to the Union. Both were admitted to the Union about the same time-Arkansas on June 15, 1836, and Michigan on January 26, 1837.

If the bill is adopted, it would go into effect June 15, 2022.

The Arkansas Secretary of State History of Arkansas State Flag and the Encyclopedia of Arkansas contributed to this article.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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