Embattled Emblem

A Short History of the Confederate Flag

The flag bearing a star-studded blue diagonal cross on a field of red is the most familiar symbol associated with the Confederate States—and with many other things in American history and culture. This online exhibit provides a short history of that symbol and explains how it acquired its many meanings: pride of the Confederate fighting man and symbol of his memory, emblem of white supremacy and racial terror, an icon of regional identity, and a vessel for culture war politics today.