The Flag of
White Supremacy

America’s most notorious racist group, the Ku Klux Klan, apparently and interestingly, did not employ the Confederate flag when it began during Reconstruction or during its 1915 revival. The Klan began to use it in the late 1930s.

In the years after 1948 and, especially, after the 1954 Brown v. Board decision that declared school segregation unconstitutional, ordinary people opposed to the burgeoning Civil Rights movement began to brandish the flag as a symbol of opposition to racial integration and equality.

Images:KKK marching with flag, 1939
Robed, hooded, and armed, Ku Klux Klan members participated in Atlanta’s 1939 Confederate Memorial Day parade – to the angry consternation of many white southerners.
U.S. Information Agency (New York Times, Paris Bureau), Record Group 306, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., photograph 306-NT-650-18

Wallace for President button
This campaign pin for president of the United States, featured Alabama Governor George Wallace and a Confederate flag. Wallace personified opposition to racial integration when he stood “in the schoolhouse door” at the University of Alabama in 1963. His surprisingly strong showing in the Democratic presidential primary in 1964 and as an independent candidate in 1968, proved that his message had significant support outside the South.
ACWM Collection, 1993.034.76

Citizens Councils
Roy V. Harris, a kingmaker of Georgia politics, spoke from a podium bearing the logo of the Citizens Council. Harris led the organization, which represented the so-called “respectable” white southern opposition to racial integration. His newspaper, the Augusta Chronicle, also featured a Confederate flag on the masthead.
Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, The University of Georgia Libraries

Flag clad youth protests integration
A young man with a flag emblazoned on his jacket taunted Black students by singing “Dixie” during anti-integration protests in North Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957.
ACWM Collection, CMLS Scrapbook