Black American Flag Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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From New York to California, the all-black American flag is a symbol that the country has seen quite a bit in recent years, but what exactly does it mean? And what does it symbolize? We’ll tell you.

In this article, we’re exploring the black American flag to tell you everything you need to know about this controversial symbol that has been popping up across the nation. So if you’ve been curious as to what it means or why someone might fly one — keep reading. 

What Is the Meaning of a Black American Flag?

Black US flags have been around since well before the 18th century and are used as a symbol of defense. 

In contrast to the white surrender flag, during the American Civil war, soldiers flew this black flag to let their enemies know they wouldn’t back down or surrender — and that enemy combatants would be killed rather than taken hostage to serve as prisoners of war.

Note: There are two main types of black American flags that are flown — those that are entirely black without any other distinguishing features or those that are completely black except for the blue square and red stripes.  

Why Are Americans Flying the Black American Flag?

If you’re on social media — namely, TikTok — then you’ve likely seen videos, pictures, or clips of people flying the all-black American flag in lieu of Old Glory, but why? What does the Black American flag mean?

These flag-wavers claim it’s a resistance symbol from the Civil War Era, but as we mentioned previously, the monochromatic black American flag was flown long before the 1800s, so what does it mean when someone flies it today?

There doesn’t seem to be one specific symbol behind the all-black American flag, but it has been quite popular among Trump supporters in recent years. With this in mind, it’s often flown by those wanting to show that they stand firm in their beliefs and won’t back down — whatever those beliefs may be!     

What Are Other Variations of the American Flags You May See Flown?

While in the past, many Americans typically kept their political beliefs close to themselves — unless it was the occasional lawn sign near an election day — a lot has changed over the last few years in that regard. 

Nowadays, you may just happen to run across a plethora of various flags flown on flagpoles, such as the Pride flag used to show support for LGBTQ rights, or “We Believe,” signs used to show support for values such as gay rights, equality or the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Examples of Flags

Below you will find a list of a few of the more commonly used flags and their meanings:

  • Thin Blue Line flag — the Thin Blue Line flag is used to show support for all the women and men in law enforcement, as well as the Blue Lives Matter movement.
  • Thin Green Line flag — though primarily used to show support for the men and women of the armed forces, the Thin Green Line flag is representative of all Federal Agents. 
  • Gadsden flag — though it is not a variation of the American flag the Gadsden flag or commonly referred to as the “Don’t Tread On Me,” flag is used as a powerful patriotic symbol of rebellion against governmental tyranny. 
  • Thin Red Line flag — the Thin Red Line flag is meant to honor fallen firefighters and support of our men and women that serve in fire departments from coast to coast. 
  • Thin White Line flag — the Thin White Line flag is flown to show support of all EMS (Emergency Medical Services) personnel 
  • Confederate flag — the Confederate flag though was once simply the flag of the Confederate States of America
  • Thin Yellow or Gold Line flag — this flag is flown to honor those who serve in public safety telecommunication; for example ambulance dispatchers, fire dispatchers and police dispatchers 
  • Thin Gray Line flag — this flag is flown in support of correction officers 
  • Pride flag — this rainbow-colored flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBTQ+), queer pride and LGBTQ+ social movements 

What Are Translations of Black American Flag?

The black American flag can be flown all around the globe — especially in times of war. With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few translations of black American flag: 

  • Afrikaans — Zwart Amerikaanse vlag
  • Arabic — العلم الأمريكي الأسود
  • Bulgarian — черен американски флаг
  • Chinese (simplified) — 美国国旗黑色
  • Croatian — crna američka zastava
  • Czech — černá americká vlajka
  • Danish — sort amerikansk flag
  • American English — black American flag
  • Dutch — zwarte Amerikaanse vlag
  • Finnish — musta Yhdysvaltain lippu
  • French — drapeau noir américain
  • German — schwarze amerikanische Flagge
  • Italian — bandiera nera americana
  • Greek μαύρη αμερικανική σημαία
  • Japanese — 黒いアメリカの国旗
  • Korean — 흑인 미국 국기
  • Norwegian — svart amerikansk flagg
  • Polish — czarna flaga amerykańska
  • British English — black American flag
  • Portuguese — bandeira preta americana
  • Russian — черный американский флаг
  • Spanish — bandera negra estadounidense
  • Swedish — svart amerikansk flagga
  • Thai — ธงชาติอเมริกันสีดํา
  • Turkish — siyah Amerikan bayrağı
  • Ukrainian — чорний американський прапор
  • Vietnamese — cờ Mỹ đen

Bottom Line

In short, the meaning being the all-black American flag is “No Quarter Given,” and it is used to imply that those who fly the flag will never surrender or back down and that enemy combatants will be killed rather than taken as prisoners of war.

Although the red, white, and blue stars and stripes remain iconic symbols of the country, the all-black American flag is quickly becoming a hot commodity. That said, if you plan on flying a flag, you should always treat it with respect (regardless of its colors) and see it as a small reminder of the great country we all call home. 


Do’s and Don’ts for Displaying Old Glory > US Department of Defense > Story | U.S Department of Defense

How Did the Rainbow Flag Become a Symbol of LGBTQ Pride? | Britannica 

History of the American Flag & American Flag Facts | Drexel Online