The unveiling of UMBC’s new logo, and Ms. Wardcantori’s article couldn’t be timelier. I am currently enrolled in Myth, Memory, and the American Civil War, History 496, with Dr. Anne Sarah Rubin, and writing my History capstone on the Maryland State Flag. The article referenced the Calvert crest doubling, during colonial times, as the “unofficial Maryland Flag”, which is incorrect, we had no flag but a State Seal. The newly formed United States of America had shed its English roots and a decidedly Republican image was created. In 1852, Governor E. Lewis Lowe restored the Seal but sadly misinterpreted the original design. Black was substituted for the Crossland red, and the gold/black paly of six was rendered as five. It was not until 1872, in the Old Treasury Building in Annapolis, that the Seal used by Cecil Calvert was discovered. Confederate soldiers did adopt the cross bottony symbol but were unaware of the original color. Early in the Civil War, Baltimore was under martial law and the wearing of ‘secession colors’ (red and white) was forbidden but not the cross bottony design itself. In 1880, the ‘flag’ was carried in the Baltimore Sesquicentennial Parade by the 5th Regiment, comprised of both Union and Confederate soldiers, and again in 1888 during the Maryland Union Monument dedication ceremony in Gettysburg.
While use of the cross bottony design by Confederate soldiers cannot be denied, the State Flag was adopted in 1904 as a symbol of postwar reconciliation, rather than in defiance of Federal authority or in response to the 20th century civil rights movement. And “technically” Ms. Wardcantori, the University is not located in the City of Baltimore but outside the beltway.
Catherine Sansone, History Major, Class of 2020