Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 19" x 25.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 10" x 16"
Stars & Stripes flags, banners and pennants, made during the 19th century, were sometimes adorned with interesting graphics and textual messages. This continued into the beginning of the 20th century, but dwindled quickly during the first quarter. After this time, it is very unusual to find interesting adaptations of the American national flag, printed with patriotic and political messages, especially with aesthetics that seem to hail from an earlier time.

This rare and fantastically graphic political pennant was flown in tribute of one of the most galvanizing events in American civil rights history. It would have been raised and waved by an attendee on that landmark day, in August of 1963, in our nation's capital, when Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. The official title for the assembly was "The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom."

Printed on paper, the triangular design is comprised of a vertical blue bar, on which 43 stars surround the words that served as the mantra of the 1960's black rights movement, "We Shall Overcome". Joan Baez sung the folk song of the same name that day at the parade, written by Pete Seeger and others, to an attending crowd estimated between 200,000 and 300,000 in number.

The star count has no specific meaning. The stars simply serve to decorate the text and complete the flag-like image. The blue bar is followed by a field of 17 stripes--again with their number merely decorative--on which the following words appear in the same blue ink:

"I Marched for Equality in the Freedom Parade; August 28, 1963; Washington, D. C."

Two blue stars follow in the last white stripe, for unknown purpose, possibly once again for artistic balance.

Today just a tiny handful of examples are known, in addition to this one. I acquired and sold three others, now in private collections. One of these was pictured twice in a book entitled "For Whom it Stands: The Flag and the American People" by Michelle Joan Wilkerson (2015, Reginald F. Lewis Museum for Maryland African American History and Culture), p. 22 and 61. The pennant was displayed in Baltimore by the museum, in an exhibition with the same title, from May 17, 2014 – February 28, 2015, lent by Jeff R. Bridgman Antiques, Inc. One of the others, in a private collection in Washington, D.C., was carried by a woman by the name of Theresa Gehring, recollected in a story that she dictated to her son, documenting the day's events.

I also acquired a period photograph of one of these pennants in use on August 27th, 1963, affixed to an automobile antenna. The photo was taken by United Press International (UPI), during preparations for the event. At least two other images also survive of these pennants, being displayed by attendees of the march, on the same day.

Mounting: The pennant has been mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and related objects and have preserved thousands of examples.

The solid walnut molding dates to the period between 1865 and 1885. To this a gilded molding of the mid-late 19th century was added as a liner. This is a pressure mount between 100% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed and treated for color-fastness, and U.V. protective acrylic (Plexiglas).

Condition: Losses at the bottom of the hoist. Tears and separations near the tip of the pennant, and one along the lower edge, nearer to the hoist, were reinforced from the reverse in an archival manner. The colors are strong and the pennant displays beautifully.
Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1963
Latest Date of Origin: 1963
State/Affiliation: District of Columbia
War Association: Vietnam
Price: SOLD

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