The History of the RBG Flag

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The red, black, and green flag was first designed and used by Marcus Garvey and members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1920. A racist 1900 song called “Every Race Has a Flag but the Coon” was one of the hottest songs of the time among white racists, and was responsible for establishing the term “coon” in reference to Black men and women in America.

This song so infuriated Marcus Garvey, that he commissioned the RBG Flag as the standard of Pan-Africanism.

“Show me the race or the nation without a flag, and I will show you a race of people without any pride. Aye! In song and mimicry they have said, “Every race has a flag but the coon.” How true! Aye! But that was said of us four years ago. They can’t say it now….” -Marcus Garvey

Since the flag first came into existence, numerous African nations have adopted the colors as a symbol of their sovereignty.

Every August 17 (the birthday of Marcus Garvey) should be celebrated worldwide as Universal African Flag Day by flying the red, black, and green banner.

The following are meditations on the meaning of the colors behind our movement.


The color of fire, aggression, and blood.

Red represents the blood of our  martyrs, the 100 Million men and women who have shed their blood and given their lives for the cause of liberty, unification, and redemption.

Red compels us to remember the Oscar Grants, the Trayvon Martins, the Sean Bells, the Troy Davises alongside the Malcolm Xs, the Martin Luther King Jrs, the Huey P. Newtons, and the Denmark Veseys.

Red represents the passion and the aggression born within every Black man and woman, the life forces that must be tapped to release the collective energy that we will need to achieve our divine purpose on this planet.


The color of the infinite, the mysterious, the unified, the definitive. The color of the most fertile of soil from which all life springs forth, and to which all life must return.

Black represents the color of the Original people.

It compels us to remember that we Black men and women are all unified as members of one family.

Black represents the uniformity of our intentions. Black also represents the ignorance – the void – from which we must emerge before we are able to lead and enlighten the rest of the world.


The color of fertility, productivity, and prosperity.

Green represents the fertile cradle of Africa in all her prosperous glory. Green reminds us of our mission as Pan-Africanists; the unification of Africa into one mighty nation – protected, self-sustaining, and developed to her full potential.

Red represents the color of the blood that has been shed.

Black represents our identity.

Green represents the color of the land that must be redeemed and reclaimed for us, the original people of the world.

Now you know. Click here to buy your own RBG Flag!


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