The Controversy About the Flag and Why It Doesn’t Only Represent Patriotism

A mostly manufactured controversy has arisen when the actor Chris Pratt was criticized for wearing a “Don’t Tread On Me” Flag shirt. The flag is used by multiple patriotic organizations and sports teams but has also been adopted by various far-right political groups and gun rights organization.

One Twitter user said,

Fox News went crazy and is using this opportunity to attack, “the left,” and “liberals,” for daring to criticize patriotism and the US flag. That flag, also known as the Gadsden flag after the General that designed it during the Revolutionary War; was never an official US Flag but did represent a time when all men were not deemed created equal. Below is a look at all the official US flags in history and some of the things that occurred while each flag flew. The flag can be a patriotic symbol, it is also fair to condemn the abuses which have taken place in its name.

1776–1777

Articles of Confederation establishes rights for “free citizens.”

1777–1794

The first Fugitive Slave Act is passed

1795–1818

Slaveowner Francis Scott Key writes The Star-Spangled Banner. He believed blacks to be “a distinct and inferior race” and “the greatest evil that afflicts a community.” The third verse celebrates the death of slaves.

1818–1819

Slaves complete reconstruction of White House

1819–1820

The House of Representatives agrees to the Talmadge Agreement barring slaves from Missouri, this led to the Missouri Compromise admitting them.

1820–1822

The Missouri Compromise allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a Slave state.

1822–1836

At Monticello, VA. 130 former slaves and other possessions of Thomas Jefferson were sold at auction.

1836–1845

In Cincinnati, OH, rioters attack blacks and white abolitionists for fear blacks would take their jobs.

1845–1846

Texas enters the Union as a slave state

1846–1847

Missouri allows Interstate trading of black people

1847–1848

The State of Missouri prohibits freed slaves from receiving an education.

1848–1851

Congress passes another Fugitive Slave Act mandating government participation in recapturing escaped slaves.

1851–1858

Under this flag, the Supreme Court overturned the Missouri Compromise and opened up slavery to all the territories.

1858–1859

The Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Case ruled a black man had no rights.

1859–1861

The last slave ship arrives in Mobile Bay, Alabama

1861–1863

New York City draft riots, hundreds of blacks wounded or killed.

1863–1865

Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest orders the massacre of mostly Negro Union troops attempting to surrender, (Hands Up). A 25-foot statue, visible from Interstate-65, exists today on private property in Nashville, TN. He was an early member of the Ku Klux Klan and was honored in 2019 by the Tennessee Governor.

1865–1867

The “black codes” are passed in all Southern legislatures in the former Confederate States. Slavery by another name.

1867–1877

Reconstruction ends when the Federal Government withdraws all Federal troops from the South under a compromise over the Presidential election. It Made Southern Legislatures White Again.

1877–1890

Jim Crow becomes the law of the land in the South

1890–1891

Eighty-five black Americans were known to have been lynched in 1890

1891–1896

The Supreme Court legalizes “Separate but Equal” giving rise to Jim Crow

1896–1908

Eight blacks were killed by whites in Wilmington, NC

1908–1912

Major cities implement legalized segregation specifying black and white neighborhoods. These include Baltimore, Dallas, Greensboro, Louisville, Richmond, Roanoke, and St. Louis.

1912–1959

Oklahoma National Guard troops bombed Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK

1959–1960

Three days before his trial, Mack Charles Parker is beaten to death in his jail cell for allegedly raping a white woman.

1960-Present

Donald Trump is elected President and appoints Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.

This post was previously published on Medium and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Photo credit: William  Spivey