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Flags of Oklahoma

March 28, 2001

Historian's Notes

The flag is the symbol of our state. It's always flying around on poles just below the flag of the United States. For several reasons I don't think Oklahoma has a very good flag. It looks like a LOT of other state flags and the symbols don't stand out very well. (Ask someone you know if they can name what's on our flag.) Regardless of how I feel about the flag, the path that led to the selection of our current flag is an interesting one.

Resources

Chronicles of Oklahoma. (Sum. 1975).

Almanac Transcript

Hello, I'm Steven Kite welcoming you to the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

The history of the State of Oklahoma is as confusing and as full of twists and turns as any state in the nation. The same can be said for the flags, banners and markers that have flown over the section of land that now makes up Oklahoma. The flags of France, Spain, the Republic of France, England, Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the Confederate States of America have flown over the region at one time or another. It was not until four years after statehood that that Oklahoma had an official state flag to call its own. Designed by Ms. WR Clement, the first state flag adapted by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1911 featured a white star edged with blue in a red field with the figure 46, Oklahoma being the 46th state, in blue on the star.

It was only two years after its official acceptance that citizens began to tire of Ms. Clement’s elegant but simple design and clamor for something different. By 1924 the move for a new state flag reached a zenith, Dr. Joseph Thoburn, of the Oklahoma Historical Society at that time, led a statewide contest to come up with a new design. On March 6th of 1925 the flag committee picked the design submitted by one Mrs. Fluke as the winner, and on March 25th of 1925 a resolution was passed and signed by the governor making Mrs. Flukes design the new state flag of Oklahoma.

Just six days later the first “blue flag” as it was known was raised above the state capitol building. The new flag featured a design more appropriate for the “Native American” state and included among other things a Native American shield and peace pipe. The state flag as we know it today, however, was not the flag designed by Fluke or voted on in 1925 by the legislature. In 1941 the Eighteenth Congress of Oklahoma voted to once again change the flag, this time adding in white letters the word “Oklahoma” across the bottom. In 2000 a short lived bill was introduced into the Oklahoma legislature calling for the removal of the word Oklahoma thereby reverting the flag back to Ms. Flukes original design. The Bill was quickly scuttled however, and the flag, for the time being at least, shall remain as it is.

I'm Steven Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a production of the OSU Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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