The Pan-African flag, also referred to as the UNIA flag, Afro-American flag or Black Liberation Flag, is a tri-color flag consisting of three equal horizontal bands colored red, black and green. The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) formally adopted it on August 13, 1920 in Article 39 of the Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World,ring its month-long convention held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, United States. Variations of the flag can and have been used in various countries and territories in Africa and the Americas to represent Pan-Africanist ideology. Various Pan-African organizations and movements also often employ the flag's colours for their activities.
The three Pan-African colors on the flag represent:
Show me the race or the nation without a flag, and I will show you a race of people without any pride. Aye! In song and mimicry they have said, "Every race has a flag but the coon." How true! Aye! But that was said of us four years ago. They can't say it now....
Alternatively, it has been explained by journalist Charles Mowbray White that Garvey proposed the colours for the following reasons: "Garvey said red because of sympathy for the 'Reds of the world', and the Green their sympathy for the Irish in their fight for freedom, and the Black- [for] the Negro."[
The flag later became an African nationalist symbol for the worldwide liberation of people of African origin. As an emblem of Black pride, the flag became popular during the Black Liberation movement of the 1960s. In 1971, the school board of Newark, New Jersey, passed a resolution permitting the flag to be raised in public school classrooms. Four of the board's nine members were not present at the time, and the resolution was introduced by the board's teen member, a mayoral appointee. Fierce controversy ensued, including a court order that the board show cause why they should not be forced to rescind the resolution, and at least two state legislative proposals to ban ethnic or national flags in public classrooms other than the official U.S. flag.
In the United States, the flag is presently widely available through flag shops or ethnic specialty stores. It is commonly seen at parades commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, civil rights rallies, and other special events.
The flag goes by several other names with varying degrees of popularity:
Although other designs are also considered to be International African flags or Pan-African flags, the horizontal stripes of red, black, and green, originated by the UNIA in 1920, is the design most often referenced.