The history of the flags of Georgia is a long history of horrible, racist, and sometimes horrible and racist flags. Instead of just showing you the latest flag and my replacement, I think it’s instructive to look back at the whole history of Georgia’s flags. If nothing else, it’ll show you how little I had to work with that could be salvaged.

The state’s original flag was your standard American abomination: the state seal on a field of blue. Even in its fairly simple form, it’s an illustration of a person and several words, in a fussy mess that looks like every other crappy state flag. The fact that it was hastily created to fill the need for a state flag in the South’s war of treason against the United States just makes it worse.

Fifteen years after losing that war, the state adopted a proper flag. It’s not technically a bad design… purely as flag designs go. But it’s a little derivative, and it was adopted as a very deliberate homage to the flag of a certain federation of which Georgia was a founding member.

No, not the United States. The Confederate States. For comparison, here is the official flag of the CSA, which was nicknamed “The Stars and Bars”. You’d probably guess by now that I don’t care for the circle of stars, which is too cluttered, but otherwise it isn’t a horrible design… except that it fails the most fundamental purpose of a flag, which was to be easily recognized on the battlefield. This dumb-as-fuck design looked too much like the flag of the country they were in treason against especially in battle, which literally confused people who were trying to kill each other, and that’s why this flag never became popular, even among racists. Instead, racists fondly remember the battle flag. You know that one.

In 1902, Georgia combined their Confederacy-wannabe flag with their regiment-of-the-Confederate-army flag, by stuffing their state seal into the smaller field of blue. I’m not gonna show that one, because you can figure it out in your head. A few years later, they added the word “GEORGIA” and replaced the seal with… a worse version of the seal. I’m not gonna show that one, because I am not a cruel person. In 1920 they redrew the seal as a white circle with blue lines, and the date 1776 to pretend that they’d forgotten about 1861 and now considered themselves part of the United States.

In the 1956, the legislature of Georgia realized that they were entering modern times, so they adopted a new flag without all that baggage of the past, one that represented the future…. oh, who am I kidding? They pulled down their pants and squeezed out a turd to show their contempt for the present and the future, inserted their heads into the vacancy, and replaced the bars that were too much like the stripes of the United States flag, with the fucking Battle Flag of the Confederacy, to show just how racist the white people of Georgia still were. P.S. it’s also an ugly design, shoving two incompatible flags together.

This lasted until 2001. Incredible.

With the 21st century underway, there was considerable pressure for Georgia to give up on the fucking Confederacy and join the 20th century. The governor, bless his heart, proposed and rammed thru a replacement. Which was god-awful in oh so many ways.

The state seal was the focus again. But with the 13 stars representing the original colonies Confederate states around it. And a dumb-as-fuck, ugly-as-shit banner showing previous flags flown over Georgia. The original Betsy Ross flag. The Confederate regimental flag. The neo-Confederate seal flag. The neo-Confederate battle flag. And the U.S. flag. And “IN GOD WE TRUST” at the bottom, just to make sure that people also understood that freedom of religion is a lie. This is the flag that earned Georgia the position of 72nd out of 72 in the North American Vexillological Assocation’s survey of U.S./Canadian flags. It’s that fucking bad.

Hint: you can’t fix the problem of having Confederate symbols on the flag by making them smaller, in a design that looks absofuckinglutely horrible.

The “good” news is that this flag was so bad that the state legislature was prompted to replace it. Which could have been a happy ending. But they replaced it with this. That’s right: the actually went back to the Confederate States of America flag design, this time with the state seal and the stars honoring the 13 Confederate states.

Fuck that shit. Fuck all of that shit. I can’t even.

Georgia’s new flag doesn’t get to use the colors of the Confederate flags. Too many feeble attempts to pass them off as U.S. colors. Instead it gets the 1879 flag redone in the colors of Georgia’s most famous crop: peaches. Still leaves a sour taste in my mouth, but it’s at least a cromulent flag.


Arkansas’ flag is another combo platter of problems and problematic.

Let’s start with the problematic: the racist legacy. Designer Willie Hocker was kinda clever. She turned the Confederate battle flag into a flag that wasn’t the Confederate battle flag, but still looked like the Confederate battle flag, by morphing the starry X inside-out, into a diamond shape. Clever. Racist, but still clever.

There’s also the set of four stars, which refer to the national empires that the territory has been part of: France, Spain, the U.S., and… the Confederacy.  Hocker’s original design was only three stars… the last one was added in 1923, as a rather obvious hand-job to white supremacists who still had a hard-on for their grandfathers’ treason.

There are also simple design issues with the flag. The word Arkansas in the middle of it (added by a committee) is the most obvious no-no. There’s also all those stars (yet again indicating what order the state was added to the union), and combined with the stars in the middle you have way-the-fuck-too many stars. But these problems are easily solved.


This simpler design actually harkens back to Hocker’s original design, by arranging the three stars back into a row, without the name of the state. The diamond shape was supposed to represent Arkansas’ status as the only diamond-producing state, and that’s fine. Removing the stars from the blue lines fixes both the Confederacy nostalgia and the busy-ness. So we’re left with a flag that leaves much of the old design intact, but strips out the cruft and the racist dog-whistling. And it’s almost elegant.


Maryland’s old flag is painful to look at. Somehow, it ranked fourth (meaning “good”) in the North American Vexillological Association’s survey of state flags! Those people have got to be out of their minds. I assume they gave it credit for daring to be ugly, or for engaging in some kind of perverse vexillo-illogical juxtaposition.

One of my pet peeves is when someone takes a state seal or crest and slaps it in the middle of a piece of cloth, and calls it a flag. This is essentially the same thing… they’re just filling the whole flag with the kind of design you’d get in some nobleperson’s coat of arms. Note: coats of arms are some of the most horrible graphic designs ever, other than 1960s concert posters.

The Maryland flag is two fundamentally incompatible designs put together, and their incongruity is accentuated by repeating each of them. You’ll hear me bitch over and over on this site about stuffing a whole flag into one corner of a flag, and these idiots stuffed an entire flag into all four corners!

And to make matters worse, one of those quarters is itself divided… into quarters! Utterly insane. I grieve for any Maryland schoolchildren who have to try to draw this flag for civics assignments or whatever.

My first attempt to fix this mess got rid of the repetition, and overlapped the patterns and colors in a way that… sort of works, in a post-modern kind of way. Still a bit anxiety-inducing, but better. An artistic schoolkid could remember this, maybe.

But I’m trying to fix not just bad flag design. I’m trying to fix bad flag history. And my research then discovered that those red-and-white quarters were a design included in the state flag back in the 19th century to represent the treasonous faction who wanted to join the Confederacy. Umm… no. We don’t accommodate that.

At the point I realized that, my job became simple: revert to just the yellow and black portion of the design. This was originally taken from the banner of the Calvert family, founders of the colony. Should’ve stuck with it. It’s distinctive without being harmful to the eyes or the soul. This is the one I’d go with.

Alternatively, if you really have a perverse attachment to that clashing set of four colors, you could at least rearrange them into the Calvert pattern instead, and this is my Plan B.


Let’s get this piece of crap taken care of right away.

Mississippi’s current flag suffers from a couple of problems. The first is that it’s really two flags in one: a set of stripes, with another flag stuffed into the canton (that special upper-left corner)… that’s simply bad design. The second problem is the fact that the second flag is the KKK’s beloved Confederate Battle Flag… that’s simply bad. Those don’t fly anymore in civilized places, and it’s why Mississippi needs to send this fucking thing into the garbage bin of history where it belongs. We can be better than that.

There have been a couple of replacements proposed in recent years, both aimed at fixing the second problem, and that’s great. They’re both a lot better, and I’d get behind either of them… if I wasn’t sick of flags filled with a bunch of stars that you’re expected to count, just to learn how many states there were in the U.S. after it joined.

Folks, unless you’re Delaware, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia, no one knows or cares what-number state you are. (Yeah, the U.S. Flag has the same problem of too many stars. We’ll get to that later.)

What we need here is a clean break from 1) a bad design and 2) bad history… something with a clean, modern look that residents could look up at with self-respect, and that visitors could look at without stopping the car and turning around out of fear. (Does Mississippi have an airport? Do tourists fly into it? Maybe they would if there wasn’t a racist battle flag greeting them when they deplaned.)

The new Mississippi flag retains the colors of the racist one, and even the motifs of a star, and a blue stripe on a red field. (I was feeling generous toward the nostalgia of Mississippians.) But this flag design turns the blue stripe into something suggesting a river, like the one that gives Mississippi its name, and which is lot better for the state’s image than the state’s history is. (I’m not a fan of initials on flags, but if you want to read this as the letter S as in MiSSiSSippi, that’s OK.)