The Juneteenth flag was created in 1977 by activist Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation, with the help of illustrator Lisa Jeanna Graf. The deliberate process of designing the flag, which is brimming with symbols of the day’s meaning, has made it an integral component of the holiday.
Deliberately consisting of a red, white, and blue color scheme just like the American flag, the Juneteenth flag has a white star in the center, meant to represent both Texas (the Lone Star State), as well as the freedom of enslaved people in all 50 states. In that same vein, the white bursting outline surrounding the star is said to have been inspired by a nova, which is an astronomical event that marks the birth of a new star—in this instance symbolizing a new beginning for African Americans in the United States.
The arc that extends across the width of the flag, at the intersection of the red and blue sections, is yet another symbol of a new beginning, or rather, a new horizon. The red, white, and blue color scheme that mimics that of the American flag was a conscious choice, meant to connote that enslaved people (who were not granted citizenships) and their descendants were and always have been Americans, as well as signifying the United States’ continued responsibility to do right by those affected by the continued injustices faced by Black Americans that are still yet to be fully dismantled.