Lawmaker Works to Change Confederate Significance of Arkansas State Flag Star

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The blue star above the word "Arkansas" on the state flag represents the state's membership in the Confederacy.    

But one lawmaker is working on legislation to change that.

"We have never accurately recognized the native tribes that were here," said Rep. Charles Blake, D- Little Rock. 

The Arkansas legislature adopted the official state flag in 1913. It didn't reflect the state's involvement in the Confederacy until 1924 when lawmakers made it the way it is today. 

The 25 stars in the shape of a diamond on the state flag signify Arkansas becoming the 25th state to join the Union. The three stars under the word "Arkansas" partially represent how Arkansas belonged to three countries: France, Spain and the U.S. 

"Before France and Spain, there were Native Americans," Rep. Blake said. 

That's why he believes the star above the word "Arkansas" should instead honor the contributions Native Americans have made to the Natural State.

"I'm wearing it on my chest," said Rep. Blake, pointing to the Arkansas flag pin on his lapel. "When I wear it on my chest, I salute the state's flag and the U.S. flag daily. But we want to make sure that we are not forgetting all citizens. The goal behind that is to once again be culturally competent." 

However, the Arkansas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are calling the legislation ignorant. 

Its commander, Robert Edwards, said the Confederacy has nothing to do with this battle, calling the accusation "a lie from the pits of Hell."

"Until all of our African American legislators remove their blinders of slavery, we won't see a full picture," Edwards added.  

Rep. Blake said he held his legislation in light of the governor's bill turned law to split the duel holiday of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert E. Lee. 

"Martin Luther King was a great stepping stone, something that needed to happen," he said. "I think the conversation needs to start where we go next, how can we as a state be better."

Rep. Blake said he may run the bill this year if there's a special session.

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