BALTIMORE (WJZ) — During a social media campaign to derail HBO’s planned modern-day Southern slavery drama, one Twitter user’s posts about the history of the Maryland flag got a lot of attention.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that the Maryland flag is half confederate,” @benjancewicz wrote, using the hashtag #NoConfederate.

And, he’s kind of right.

Yes, even though Maryland was a Union state, the flag — which is featured on the state’s license plate and is a popular adornment for clothing and accessories — does contain some Confederate symbolism.

RELATED: #NoConfederate Campaign Against HBO Modern Slave Drama Takes Off

The flag’s older history is tied to George Calvert, an English politician and colonizer who more or less founded the Maryland colony, although he died just weeks before the charter for the state was approved in 1632. The settlement of the area was left to his firstborn son Cecil and his second son Leonard Calvert was the first colonial governor of the province.

“George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore, adopted a coat of arms that included a shield with alternating quadrants featuring the yellow-and-black colors of his paternal family and the red-and-white colors of his maternal family, the Crosslands,” state archives say.

“When the General Assembly in 1904 adopted a banner of this design as the state flag, a link was forged between modern-day Maryland and the very earliest chapter of the proprietorship of the Calvert family.”

But the red and white part of the flag, known as the Crossland arms, was also the design flown by Marylanders who sympathized with the South in the Civil War, according to state records.

“During the war, Maryland-born Confederate soldiers used both the red-and-white colors and the cross bottony design from the Crossland quadrants of the Calvert coat of arms as a unique way of identifying their place of birth,” the records say. “Pins in the cross bottony shape were worn on uniforms, and the headquarters flag of the Maryland-born Confederate general Bradley T. Johnson was a red cross bottony on a white field.”

During the slow process of reconciliation after the Civil War ended in Union victory in 1865, a “flag incorporating alternating quadrants of the Calvert and Crossland colors began appearing at public events” in the state.

The origins of the flag including both designs is not known, but state records say it was being flown by October 1880.

In 1888, the flag was carried by Maryland National Guard troops escorting Governor Elihu E. Jackson at the dedication ceremonies for the Maryland monument at the Gettysburg Battlefield.

The next year, the Fifth Regiment, Maryland National Guard, adopted the flag as its regimental color, becoming the first organization to adopt it officially.

And, as previously mentioned, it was declared the official state flag by the General Assembly in 1904.

Read more about the history of the state flag HERE, and tell us what you think of it.

Follow @CBSBaltimore on Twitter and like WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Facebook

Comments (131)
  1. So let’s work this thing.
    Black and yellow were the colors of the Calvert family. No problem there.
    Loyal Marylanders, post 1861, flew the black-and-yellow.
    Confederate Marylanders, in an effort to say “We’re not them”, flew the distaff family’s colors in a particular pattern.

    So the attribution of the red/white bottony pattern as “slavery” seems to be based more on juxtaposition (we’re not them) than any pure racist intent.

    Was anyone outside of the Maryland area even aware of this until now? I’d never heard of it.

    I’m going to say the flag is not racist at its heart. The use of the red/white pattern by Johnny Reb was purely happenstance, a matter of convenience.

  2. When are we going to rename McDonogh School in Owings Mills? It is the namesake of a New Orleans slave owner. In fact, the names of McDonogh Road and the whole McDonogh area are an embarrassment.

  3. And now I understand Freddie Gray and Marilyn Mosby. Freddie Gray was trying to bring this shameful flag history to the public and the racist white president had him killed.

  4. Carl Kaminer says:

    For shame, Maryland, for shame. I bet you drink iced tea and eat grits, too. For shame.

  5. Oh for the love of GOD! There is a segment of the US population that really needs to get over itself. The historical monstrosity that was slavery ended over 150 years ago. No one alive today was ever a slave and no one alive today was ever a slave owner. Get over yourself, people! If you are so against slavery, go to the middle east and africa where it is still commonplace today. Oh wait, there is no money to be made or no “freebes” to be garnered in doing that. So bottom line: quit your bellyaching and get with the program.

  6. Sam Focer says:

    Democrats are trying to remove this stain on their history. The last time the KKK beat and murdered people was when Republican kids were signing Blacks up to vote in Dixiecrat land.

  7. the Democrats have fully embraced “hate whitey” as their rallying cry. This goes way beyond Confederate flag, but in the liberal’s mind nothing is more white than something related to the Confederacy.

  8. John Dillon says:

    Well, the ISIS supporters are making it very obvious on their way of thinking. Anyone else want to destroy the losers in a war after you’ve won? We might as well put the Japanese in camps now because they fought against us in WW2. Better yet, get rid of any Germans while we’re at it. They were on the side of the Nazis so they need to go. I can go on. Let’s go back to the Crusades. The moors were obviously right so get rid of all Christians now .

  9. Wacko progressive’s next target. Mt. Vernon, home of owner George. Burn it down. Next, erase Jefferson’s face off all currency.

  10. Paul Rodgers says:

    If you have to go through paragraphs to explain the “connection,” then there is NO connection……

  11. Libs want absolute power and try to rewrite history so that our citizens won’t know revolt is even possible. The most controllable population is one that knows nothing but being controlled, and accepts that as an immutable, unquestioned condition of existence.

  12. Cajuan King says:

    Give the underclass one iota of knowledge that they never had before, and they go apes3hit with it !

  13. I would be more upset about the 5 public schools in Baltimore that not did reach the minimum standards for the state this year. These schools are in a predominant ethnic neighborhood. The teachers are mainly substituting because the turnover of regular staff is so obnoxiously high.

    Second, the Maryland flag represents the Carrolton family. The Carrolton family settled in what is known as St. Mary’s County. The English monarch gave Carrolton the land because of Roman Catholic Discrimination in England. Maryland was carved out to be a haven for Catholics. St. Elizabeth Anne Seton came to Maryland to escape the hatred of her elite Anglican friends in NYC. She built a fine school for girls in the early 1800s that later developed into one of the first female colleges in the US.

    Third, the flag represents the coat of arms or battle colors for the Carroltons. The other do Hickey is a loosely St. George’s cross. My local paper did a profile of one of the remaining Carrols. He was homeless and living in a cardboard box….satisfied.

    Lord, fix the problem at hand and teach reality.

  14. Boy, I am steamed up today like a Blue Crab. Why does no one ever mention the amount of harm the Baltimore Riots of two years ago did to the community? A new senior center was destroyed as well as an AIDS clinic. The fun part about the research is that you don’t have to go to the archives to dig up the mess. It is right on this website.

    My Lord, deal with the problems at hand. You feel so strongly over history’s ugliness teach a kid how to read, math or science.

    Here if you are looking for a fight, I’ll toss you a bone. Something I was taught in school, the British used to trade native Americans small pox laced blankets. The blankets came from the conscripted poor blokes or Irish that died from the disease.

  15. Reed Smith says:

    Give leftists a toehold, and they will blow the door down eventually to whitewash/eliminate history…rewriting it if necessary.

  16. Wm Layer says:

    Well, the morons are at it again. Why not go after the Stars and Stripes, after all slavery existed a lot longer under it than it ever did under any Confederate flag. What we are seeing is the true spirit of the “progressives” , their ambition to abolish the nation by obliterating historical memory. Quite Orwellian, and just as evil. Guilty as they are of sedition those who parrot their vile fictions are brainless.

  17. swanspirit says:

    You want to turn Maryland, from a blue state, to a red state? Go ahead, go after our flag. We already have a Republican governor, and a great deal of this state already is bright red. So go ahead. Try it.

  18. It’s heraldry-the only US state flag to have it, I believe. Apparently the Confederacy was a lot older than I thought.

Leave a Reply