Confederate flags, contentious symbols
“Pictures have a lot more power than text. Text is just a bunch of little symbols. You have to actually read it and imagine it, and even that can be censored. With pictures, it's a lot more immediate.” So observed American cartoonist Robert Crumb.
Let’s consider the enormous power of two symbols – the Confederate battle flag and the similar Confederate Navy Jack. Each of these flags is usually, though, erroneously labeled “the Confederate flag.”
The Confederate battle flag was created following the First Battle of Manassas (aka Bull Run). During the battle, troops had difficulty distinguishing between the official Confederate flag (the Stars and Bars) and Old Glory. The new battle flag was square and featured a blue St. Andrew’s Cross with 13 white stars outlined in white on a red field. The Confederate Navy Jack, created in 1863, differed from the battle flag in that it was a rectangle rather than a square. This is the flag most commonly seen today.