Red, black and green striped flags are ubiquitous at black protests in America. These three colors are also found in black-centric celebrations such as Juneteenth. These colors have also been chosen for the flags of many African countries after their independence from European colonialism. Whose movement do these colors represent? Pan Africanism,

What is not as well known is the history of how those colors were chosen and the background behind the flags that bear them. Many people interested in black history may be unaware of the back story. It is unlikely that this history will be taught in states that are stepping up their attacks against black history education.

Related Story: Caribbean Matters: Hey DeSantis, By Attacking Black History You Are Attacking Caribbean Floridians

Caribbean Affairs Daily Kos is a weekly series, If you are unfamiliar with this area, see Caribbean Affairs: Getting to Know the Countries of the Caribbean,

The Pan-American flag was adopted by Marcus Garvey on August 13, 1920 Universal Negro Improvement Association, commonly referred to as UNIA. Thursday is also Garvey’s 136th birthday: he was born on this day August 17, 1887 AD St Ann’s Bay, Jamaica.

Related Story: Caribbean Affairs: The Powerful Legacy of Marcus Garvey and the Movement to Forgive Him

Before diving into the history of the Pan-American flag, watch this five-minute video biography reviewing Garvey’s history and influence youtuber endscape “And the No” series.

In this episode we look at the influence of Marcus Garvey as the first international pan-Africanist leader of a militant response against white supremacy. The early 1900s was an era of racial terror for African Americans, but Garvey had the courage to stand up against anyone who stood in the way of black liberation.

Written by NPR’s “Code Switch” editor Leah Donella An in-depth story on the history of the Pan-African flag For flag day 2017.

Garvey and the UNIA explained the need for a flag in a political context, [historian and Marcus Garvey scholar Dr. Robert] Hill explains. “Everyone looking at that flag will immediately recognize that it is an expression of black aspirations, black resistance to oppression.”

A few years earlier, white minstrel singers were expressing the flags’ importance as a form of racial pride: In 1900, Will A. Heelan and J. Fred Helf composed a popular song called “”.Every race has a flag except the Coon,

The refrain was:

“Bonnie Scotland loves thistle,
Turkey has its crescent,
And what would the Yankees not do for the old red, white and blue?
Every race has a flag, but not a coon.”

The song shows that at the time, even four decades after emancipation, many white people still did not consider black people to be full citizens of the United States or any country.

The creation of a flag, then, was a step in claiming an identity of its own for black people around the world. Michael HankardProfessor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, says the flags are important because they symbolize the union of governance, people and territory. For black people, the flag means “they have some way of identifying themselves in the world. And … to show even those who are not members of this particular national community that they too belong to it, that They have membership of a national community, a world of communities, a world of nations.”

“Coon?” Oh hell no! If I had heard that racist thing, I too would have been immediately thinking why do we need our own flag.

Sydney Clark, graduate student at Tulane University wrote about the global symbolism of the flag for Best Colleges last year,

Why does the Pan-African flag matter to black history?

Even today the Pan-African flag is a symbol of political activism, Its deep history as a marker of black liberation and its use in prior civil rights movements gives strength to those waving the flag in 2022. Used in countless movements intended to end the Black American struggle, the flag is a sign of the progress made together and the work we still need to do to achieve justice.

The Pan-African flag is also recognized outside the Americas. During the second half of the 20th century, many newly liberated countries on the African continent used the Pan-African colors as the basis for their flags. newly made flags, which includes Kenya, Libya and Malawi. kwanza, Juneteenthand other black american celebrations too use colors of the flag within their furnishings and symbolism.

Iconography is an important part of many cultures. The Pan-African flag has set an example of how black Americans can identify with their unique traditions and history. For many in the black community, the flag is a symbol of pride, integration, and change.

The red color in the flag represents the blood we share as African people, and the blood we have shed fighting to be free. Black represents black people both in Africa and the global diaspora. Finally, green is a symbol of both growth and fertility.

composer and musician in 1973 Roy Ayers With “Red, Black and Green” paying homage to the colors and the flag.

Lyrics,

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

red is for eastern side
red is for the blood we share
the color red is for our thousands of dead
red is for our freedom
yes we fight for our nation

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

black is for the motherland
black is for proud black man
Black color is for beautiful face
of a glorious and beautiful place
black soil is for the soil we need
so a nation that we can feed

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

Green is for the seed of freedom sown in our hearts
Green is for the seed that grows free from all fire
Green is to feel the earth –

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

red black and green
if you think about it you know what i mean

if you think about it you know what i mean
if you think about it you know what i mean
if you think about it you know what i mean

Pan-Africanism links diaspora black people historically, culturally and politically to countries in Africa. It has been interesting to see the growing dialogue and collaboration between the Indian diaspora and the continent. For example, consider progress and partnership between each other. CARICOM members and heads of African states,

As always, I was excited to hear Mia Motley, Prime Minister of Barbados, speak Afreximbank’s 30th anniversary annual meeting in June in Accra, Ghana. They celebrated the historic Pan-African ties between the Caribbean and Black Africa.

I’d love to know where you learned about the history of the flag (or if you didn’t before reading this story). Join me in the comments to discuss further and for a weekly Caribbean news roundup.


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