What the Symbols on the Juneteenth Flag Mean

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Today, a powerful symbol is taking to the skies: The Juneteenth flag.

Juneteenth commemorates Union Gen. Gordon Granger’s arrival in Texas in 1865, marking the official end of slavery—and while the flag may be new to some, it’s been around since 1997, with alterations made to the design in 2000.

National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation founder Ben Haith is behind the development of the flag, as well as the annual Juneteenth Flag Raising Ceremony at the Dillaway Thomas House in Boston. Illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf took Haith’s design, along with contributions from Verlene Hines, Azim and Eliot Design, and refined a final version.

As Haith writes, “The Juneteenth Flag represents a star of Texas bursting with new freedom throughout the land, over a new horizon.”

As for some of the details, according to CNN:

  • The burst is inspired by a nova, aka a new star—representing a new beginning.

  • The curved surface indicates a horizon, a dawn of fresh opportunity and possibility for African Americans.

  • The color palette very deliberately utilizes red, white and blue, indicating freedom for black citizens in all states.

  • The date of Granger’s ride, June 19, 1865, was added in 2007.

Fly it high—and to sign a petition to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, click here.