History of the Flag
Our State Flag: A Brief History Early in 1912 the Pine Bluff Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), decided to present a "stand of colors" to the U.S.S. Arkansas, a new battleship. A United States Flag, a naval battalion flag and an Arkansas Flag were to be included.
Secretary of State Earle W. Hodges informed the committee appointed by the DAR group that Arkansas had no state flag. The Pine Bluff Chapter immediately launched a movement to obtain one. Through the newspapers they asked that designs be submitted to Secretary of State Hodges, who had agreed to appoint a committee.
Sixty-five separate designs were considered by Hodges' committee. The design chosen was the work of Miss Willie Kavanaugh Hocker of Wabbaseka, a member of the Pine Bluff Chapter, DAR. The General Assembly passed a resolution on February 26, 1913, affirming the choice of the committee.
The original design submitted by Miss Hocker appeared essentially as the flag does today, except that the central white diamond contained only three blue stars, lying in a straight line from left to right.
The selection committee asked her to place the word "Arkansas" in the center of the diamond. Miss Hocker then made a new flag, adding "Arkansas" and placing two blue stars below and one above the name.
Though simple in appearance, the flag was rich in symbolism. The colors red, white, and blue signified that Arkansas was one of the United States. The diamond reminded viewers that Arkansas had the nation's only diamond mine. The 25 white stars bordering the diamond showed that Arkansas was the 25th state to enter the union.
The three stars in the center of the flag did triple duty as historical symbols. Prior to statehood, Arkansas had belonged to three nations: Spain, France, and the United States. The United States purchased Louisiana, which included Arkansas, in 1803 and Arkansas was the third state created out of the Louisiana Purchase.
The flag remained unchanged until 1923, when the Legislature added a fourth star to the diamond to represent the Confederacy. At first there were two stars above the name and two below, but legislation in 1924 positioned a Confederate star above the state's name and the original three below it.
The Arkansas History Commission has the original designs submitted in the state flag contest, including the winning entry, the first complete State Flag made by Miss Hocker, and a framed portrait of Miss Hocker.
This brief history was written by
Dr. John Ferguson, State Historian.