Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nebraska: Equality Before the Law

The Nebraska state flag is a navy blue or "national blue" flag with the Nebraska state seal centered in the middle. The seal is simply designed the colors of gold and silver. It contains the state motto: Equality before the law.

The state flag of Nebraska was made official by the state legislature in 1925.
The images included within the seal, however, are not so simple. In a few carefully chosen symbols, Nebraska's broad history, dating to its territorial annexation, is depicted. These symbols represent agriculture (wheat sheaves and corn stalks), settlers (a cabin and a steamboat), and industry (the smithy's hammer and anvil).

The seal also is designed to include geographical landmarks such as the Missouri River  (running through the middle) and the Rocky Mountains (in the distant background).

Florence Hazen Miller
While the state seal dates to 1867, the same year Nebraska became a state, the state flag was not created until 1925.  It was first raised on January 1, 1926 at the state capitol's new year's celebration.

The Nebraska state flag was designed by Florence Hazen Miller who also is credited with writing a history of the American Revolution.

Like many state flags, the Nebraska flag resulted from a contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, of which Ms. Miller was a member having colonial antecedents dating to the 1600s.

Nebraska is the 37th state. March 1, 1867 is the date of its statehood. At the center of the debate around Nebraska's statehood was whether or not African Americans should have the right to vote. President Andrew Johnson did not want to sign the bill allowing this, saying that the right to vote should be determined by individual states and not the federal government. Johnson did, however, finally sign the bill making Nebraska not just a state but a state in which all men, black and white, had the right to vote. Uhm, women, however, were a different subject! On August 2, 1919, Nebraska recognized women's right to vote. It was the 14th state to do so, giving all Nebraska citizens "equality before the law."

Let it fly!


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