Since its inception, Georgia has had six official flags and one unofficial.
Flag #1: 1861-1879
The first, unofficial flag was blue with the state’s three-columned arch coat of arms in the center, containing the state’s motto: “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.”
Flag #2: 1879-1902
The General Assembly adopted the state’s first official flag in 1879. It has one vertical blue stripe and three horizontal stripes: red, white, and red again.
Flag #3: 1902-1920
In 1902, the arch was added. It resembles today’s flag.
Flag #4: 1920-1956
In 1920, the arch was replaced with the state seal. This flag would last a solid 36 years until racial tensions peaked in the 1950s and Georgia Dixiecrats longed for the restoration of the Confederacy.
Flag #5: 1956-2001
The 1956 flag sported the seal from the 1920 flag but replaced the stripes with the Confederate Battle Flag.
Rep. Denmark Groover said the new flag “would leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that Georgia will not forget the teachings of Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and that this will show that we in Georgia intend to uphold what we stood for, will stand for, and will fight for … Anything we in Georgia can do to preserve the memory of the Confederacy is a step forward.”
Flag #6: 2001-2003
The shortest-lived Georgia flag was passed under the governorship of Roy Barnes in 2001, ironically, per the urging of former representative Groover. In 1993, Groover admitted that the previous flag was offensive and said that it was a reaction to Brown v. Board of Education.
The 2001 flag was entirely blue with the yellow state seal in the center. Below the seal are the American flag and several of the previous Georgia flags, including the ’56 flag.
Flag #7: 2003-Present
Fifteen years ago, 73 percent of Georgia voters voted for the three-striped red and white flag we currently call the Georgia state flag. In 2003, Sonny Perdue signed the new design into law, making it the third Georgia flag in only 27 months.
This is the flag Georgians in 2018 hang from their houses and on their walls.
Inspired by the national American flag rather than the Confederate Battle Flag, it features three stripes of red, white, and red and, in the corner, the coat of arms surrounded by the stars of the 13 colonies. Patriotically, it reads: “Constitution,” “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation,” and “In God We Trust.”
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