David Hammons (b. 1943) is an African-American artist from New York City. Among his works, which are often inspired by the civil rights and Black Power movements, one of the best known is the “African American Flag”, which he designed in 1990 by recoloring the U.S. national flag in the Garvey colors (red, black, and green of the Pan-African flag). The flag is a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and a copy is hoisted at the entrance to the Studio Museum in Harlem, a New York museum devoted to the art of African-Americans.
Freedom is selective and only befriends those who know a lesser emotional weight. It only kisses the foreheads of those who needn’t imagine the distant screams of many who have come before them as they read the morning news. We’re still searching for the shards of glass that once made up a window we’ve only heard fables about looking out of. Generations later we’re still hoping to gather all the pieces, bloodied fingers with each discovery. We still aspire to sit in the sill, take a deep breath, and truly understand what liberty is. We have been hated, hunted, and denied the right to grieve. Right hand over heart, ingrained memories of shackles and violence, we are Americans in queue waiting to be kissed by each star and stripe. The weights of capitalism and white supremacy on our backs, we’re still picking up the pieces, creating the view our lost ones deserved.
Creative & Art Direction: dopenmind
Makeup: Rochelle Jones
Models: Cameron Townsend, Senettra Harvey
*please do not remove original text*
When you see this flag, raise your fist in the air like so and recite the following pledge:
Black Child’s Pledge
I pledge allegiance to my Black People. I pledge to develop my mind and body to the greatest extent possible. I will learn all that I can in order to give my best to my People in their struggle for liberation. I will keep myself physically fit, building a strong body free from drugs and other substances which weaken me and make me less capable of protecting myself, my family and my Black brothers and sisters. I will unselfishly share my knowledge and understanding with them in order to bring about change more quickly. I will discipline myself to direct my energies thoughtfully and constructively rather than wasting them in idle hatred. I will train myself never to hurt or allow others to harm my Black brothers and sisters for I recognize that we need every Black Man, Woman, and Child to be physically, mentally and psychologically strong. These principles I pledge to practice daily and to teach them to others in order to unite my People.
-The Black Panther, October 26, 1968 by Shirley Williams
(Using the template, you can probably order such a flag from places like here, here, or here.)
Lift every voice and sing Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise High as the listening skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea. Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us, Facing the rising sun of our new day begun Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chastening rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, Out from the gloomy past, Till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who has brought us thus far on the way; Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray. Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee, Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee; Shadowed beneath Thy hand, May we forever stand. True to our God, True to our native land.
The Pan African Flag was unveiled to the world by Marcus Garvey and the UNIA-ACL at its international convention in 1920. This flag has hold on proudly for over nine decades under different titles: African-American flag, Pan-African flag, RBG Flag, African-American Flag, UNIA flag, Marcus Garvey flag, Black Liberation Flag, Black Power Flag, etc.
As we celebrate this day of American Independence, let’s take a moment to remember the very first man who died for what-would-become-the-United-States.
His name was Crispus Attucks.
His father was a Black slave and his mother was from the Natick
tribe. Crispus ran away from his childhood plantation. He became a
respected sailor in New England. Whilst in Boston in 1770, a dispute
with redcoats led to them opening fire on Crispus and then several
others. This incident became known as “The Boston Massacre”, which,
you’ll recall, jump-started the American Revolution.
As Black people are shot in the streets (and churches) on a daily basis, as Native tribes are further displaced, and as White people desperately cling to a symbol of bigotry, let’s take a moment to remember
when the death of a Black man and Native American inspired this country
to change for the better.
David Hammons grew up in Illinois, but he moved to New York City when he was in his thirties. That is where his “African American Flag” hangs - above The Studio Museum of Harlem. Even though Hammons isn’t originally from New York, I think the fact that he places his art there shows that the city has become a part of his culture.
Spirit of Freedom an African-American Civil War Soldier Celebration
Andrew Bowman stands with an American flag and a portrait of his grandfather, Andrew Jackson Smith of the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Colored Infantry, as Bowman portrays Smith, at the Spirit of Freedom, the 18th Annual African-American Civil War Soldier Celebration at Crown Hill Cemetery, Thursday, June 5, 2014. Kelly Wilkinson/The Star
Regiment lost during service 3 Officers and 64 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 128 Enlisted men by disease. Total 197.
Demonstrators burn a US flag in Denver as protests against ‘state-sponsored racism’ spread
The murder of nine parishioners at a historical black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last week renewed debate about the place of the Confederate flag in US culture.
Pictures emerged of Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old accused of slaughtering nine African-Americans, holding the flag in the disturbing pictures he posted on his hate-filled website. The Confederate battle flag became a potent symbol for the southern states fighting the Civil War as they sought to break away from the union.
Protesters held placards, one comparing the flag to a swastika, and listened as community leaders blasted the state government for not acting to remove the emblem of slavery - which many believe has become a rallying symbol for racism and xenophobia in the United States.
This July 4, burn both flags of slavery: the confederacy and U.S. imperialism!