No, the Maryland Flag Does Not Have Racist Roots

I usually write longer explainers, but it’s not even necessary this time, because that’s how wrong the Baltimore Sun is this time.

Activist draws attention to Maryland flag’s Confederate origins during #NoConfederate campaign

When he first moved to Maryland, graphic designer and activist Benjamin Jancewicz was amazed by the ubiquity of the state flag. Marylanders showed their love for their home state with black, gold, red and white koozies, clothes and even tattoos. “I know a lot of people with Maryland flag tattoos,” he said.

The flag comes from the arms of the Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore. Here, these the arms granted by the College of Arms no later than 1675:

The Arms of Cecil Calvert, Baron Baltimore, showing the Crossland shield
The Arms of Cecil Calvert, Baron Baltimore, showing the Crossland shield

Yes, the Crossland banner was adopted by secessionists in Maryland, but they co-opted a symbol of the State of Maryland. Suggesting the Crossland banner is a racist emblem is just as bad as suggesting the Confederate statues are not. Fortunately, the Crossland banner has been restored to its rightful place, representing Maryland and her history for more than 350 years.

(I’ve been advised that Nina Basu will be fighting with me on Facebook about this tomorrow morning. That’s okay, she’ll catch up to me in about six months…)