COLOUR OF OUR FLAG

Colours and significance

The three Pan-African colours on the flag represent:

Red: the blood that unites all people of African ancestry, and shed for liberation;
Black: the people whose existence as a nation, though not a nation-state, is affirmed by the existence of the flag;
Green: The abundant natural wealth of Africa.

 

History

The flag was created in 1920 by the members of the UNIA in response to the enormously popular 1900 coon song “Every Race Has a Flag but the Coon,”

Which has been cited as one of the three coon songs that “firmly established the term coon in the American vocabulary”. A 1921 report appearing in the Africa Times and Orient Review, for which Marcus Garvey previously worked, quoted him regarding the importance of the flag:

Show me the race or the nation without a flag, and I will show you a race of people without any pride. Aye! In song and mimicry they have said, “Every race has a flag but the coon.” How true! Aye! But that was said of us four years ago. They can’t say it now….

Alternatively, it has been explained by journalist Charles Mowbray White that Garvey proposed the colours for the following reasons: “Garvey said red because of sympathy for the ‘Reds of the world’, and the Green their sympathy for the Irish in their fight for freedom, and the Black- [for] the Negro.”

The flag later became an African nationalist symbol for the worldwide liberation of people of African origin. As an emblem of Black pride.

The flag became popular during the Black Liberation movement of the 1960s. In 1971, the school board of Newark, New Jersey, passed a resolution permitting the flag to be raised in public school classrooms. Four of the board’s nine members were not present at the time, and the resolution was introduced by the board’s teen member, a mayoral appointee. Fierce controversy ensued, including a court order that the board show cause why they should not be forced to rescind the resolution, and at least two state legislative proposals to ban ethnic or national flags in public classrooms other than the official U.S. flag.