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Rebel Flag Tattoos

Rebel Flag tattoos are popular design selections for those wanting to display their love for the South. This particular flag, also referred to as the “Confederate Battle Flag,” has a deep southern history dating back to the first half of the 20th century. However, those choosing rebel flag tattoos should take into consideration that these same symbols may also be observed as controversial racial messages—reminders of slavery.

History of the Rebel Flag
The rebel flag is often mistakenly called the “Stars and Bars” flag. The Stars and Bars flag was the first national flag of the Confederate States of America in 1861. It was conceived during an effort to create an identity for the new confederate nation. Trying to keep the flag similar to the national flag of the United States, the “Stars and Bars” flag used the same colors as the U.S. national flag but featured three stripes instead of thirteen and included a circle of seven white stars within a blue square, each representing one of the seven states in the Confederacy at that time. As more states joined more stars were added, eventually totaling thirteen stars for the thirteen states of the Confederacy: North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Virginia and Louisiana. It was during the Battle of Bull Run (fought between the Union and the Confederacy) that the Stars and Bars flag’s resemblance to the national flag of the United States caused problems as the soldiers became confused as to who was who on the battlefield. Following this battle, the Confederacy decided that they should keep the Stars and Bars flag as their “national” flag but also have a separate battle flag that was graphically different from the U.S. flag for their soldiers to carry into battle. It was then that the recognizable Confederate Battle Flag (or Rebel Flag) was created: a red flag with a large blue “X” containing the thirteen white stars.

Variations of Rebel Flag Tattoos
Over the years, rebel flag tattoos have primarily been chosen to represent southern pride rather than racial discrimination; therefore, they are generally placed where others can see them. While numerous design choices feature the rebel flag blowing in the wind, amidst an elaborate battle scene, or on the hood of a muscle car or truck (reminiscent of the 1980’s television show The Dukes of Hazard), many people opt for just the face of the rebel flag to be their design choices. Simple designs such as this, along with the red, blue and white ink colors of most rebel flag tattoos, make for bold statements; however, the graphic pattern of the flag allows it to be just as eye-catching when done as a grayscale piece of body art.

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