Editor’s note: This editorial expresses the views of the Log Cabin Democrat. The editorial board is composed of Frank Leto, Jeanette Anderton and Alex Kienlen.
We state this simply: If Mississippi can strike its state flag in favor of a flag which does not honor its confederacy history, Arkansas can certainly remove its confederacy-supporting fourth star from the center of its flag.
The fourth star, the single star above the word “Arkansas,” was first added in 1923 – this according to Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston’s website – to commemorate Arkansas being part of the Confederate States of America. Originally it was a fourth star in a line of stars but after a “furor,” per Thurston, three stars were moved below the state’s name with the single confederacy-supporting star remaining above the word “Arkansas” at the flag’s center.
We could go on as to the temperament of Arkansas, if not America, in the early 1920s and the thought process which would lead to the addition of the fourth star. We will note, however, that the 20s were also the time of the Ku Klux Klan’s ascendancy in Arkansas and, yes, America. That fourth star reflects the “Who’s in charge here” politics of that group and its brow-beating in that era.
And those white-supremacy politics are wrong, simply wrong.
We note further the “furor” moving three stars below the state’s name and the single, then-new, star above is not without its own symbolism, that “Who’s in charge here” being somehow above (above!) the name of the state is further not coincidental.
In fact to assert otherwise, that the fourth start, that the star’s arrangement, doesn’t mean anything or some other “No harm intended” response is so much whistling past the graveyard. The fourth star was put there in support of the confederacy. The fourth star was ultimately placed above the name of our very great state – and this is unacceptable.
Arkansas was formed by people who came, cleared a space on a wild American frontier and formed an identity. In time, and with statehood, a state flag was formed, the three stars in its center symbolic of its heritage leading to its formation. The fourth star, added 10 years after on our flag does not reflect heritage but instead the goals and schemes of those who would separate us, divide us. Those politics must not be honored.
The fourth star is not who we are; the fourth star must go.