Black and White American Flags and Their Meaning

The American flag is a beloved symbol representing the bravery and ideals of the American people. While the red, white, and blue stripes are one of the most recognizable emblems in the world, there is another version that is growing in popularity. 

The black and white U.S. flag brings a modern twist to the classic design. From supporting law enforcement to embracing civil rights campaigns like the Black Lives Matter movement, the black and white flag invokes many meanings to different groups. In this blog, we will explore the origins and meaning behind this unique national flag and explore its impact on the world today.  

Purchase your very own Black and White U.S. Flag from Crafted from lightweight polyester and featuring reinforced stitching and sturdy metal grommets, the black and white U.S. flag is the perfect addition to any indoor or outdoor flag display!  

Where Did Black and White American Flags Originate?  

With its surge in popularity, the black and white American flag has garnered some controversy among those who don’t know its origins or history. In recent years, you may have seen people flying it on TikTok, claiming it as a symbol of the American Civil War and using it as a symbol of resistance. 

However, Confederate soldiers likely never flew the black American flag. Around a hundred years before the Civil War, pirates would fly black flags to symbolize their intent to take no prisoners. Instead, they would kill their enemies immediately.  

It’s no surprise, then, that during times of war, a black flag was a popular choice to intimidate the enemy and act as motivation. Confederate soldiers did fly black flags; they just weren’t black American flags. 

The first monochromatic U.S. flag appeared in 1955 when an artist named Jasper Johns painted the symbol. The androgyny of the flag led it to be embraced by people from all different walks of life. 

Within the military setting, an infrared (IR) flag is used on the uniforms as an easy way of identifying friendly fire without compromising camouflage. The black coloring is only highly visible under infrared light, making it perfect during combat situations.  

Black and White American Flag Black and White American Flag

What is the Meaning of the Black and White American Flag?  

When it comes to the meaning of the black and white American flag, it doesn’t just symbolize one specific thing. The Black Lives Matter Movement widely used the flag following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, which African Americans used as a form of protest. 

The plain black flag is also seen on flagpoles throughout the country, the drained color symbolizing the loss of our great American ideals. Both Republicans and Democrats fly the flag as a way to convey their ideals and convictions, making it a bipartisan ensign.  

What is the Significance of a Black and White Version of the American Flag with One Colored Stripe?  

Along with the traditional black and white colorway, it’s not uncommon to see the monochromatic flag with a single-colored line running through it. The color of the line determines its meaning. In 1854, the Crimean War raged as the Russians fought the French, British, and Turks. During an attempted siege on the British supply base at Balaclava, the 93rd Highlanders, a Scottish regiment, found themselves as the lone guardians against four Russian cavalries.  

The soldiers fought valiantly, forming a “thin red line” against their attackers. Known as the Battle of Balaclava, this moment would shape history as we know it. Soon, people began using the phrase “thin red line” to symbolize bravery against those who would bring harm.  

Recently, the expression has made a modern resurgence. A similar saying, “thin blue line,” describes how police officers protect society by acting as a barrier and protector against chaos.  

American Flag with a Blue Stripe (Thin Blue Line Flag)  

Since the 1980s, police officers have added a blue stripe to their black mourning bands, which they place over their badge to remember fallen colleagues. Steve Bollinger, a shooting instructor from Dekalb County, GA, is known for creating car decals and lapel pins of the symbol in the 90s. While he only sold them to fellow officers, some civilians found they could put them on their vehicles to avoid tickets.  

In 2014, a University of Michigan student named Andrew Jacob created a version of the mourning band to support all police officers. His version featured a black and white American flag with a blue stripe. Known as the thin blue line flag, it became the symbol of the Blue Lives Matter Movement, which quickly gained a huge following across America. Those wishing to support men and women in the line of duty fly these flags as a symbol of solidarity.  

Show your support for our country’s brave law enforcement officers with a beautiful nylon printed Thin Blue Line U.S. Flag. Available in two sizes, these durable flags feature high-grade nylon construction, heavy-duty brass grommets, and reinforced stitching.  

Thin red line American flag Thin red line American flag

American Flag with Red Stripe  

Following the creation of the original thin blue line flag designed in the 80s, other versions emerged. Firefighters in Apex, NC, located just 40 minutes south of’s warehouse, developed their own version of the thin blue line flag in 1999. 

It started as a joke when they began asking local cops what their thin blue line flag stood for. Soon, they decided to create their own version in response, which featured a plain black background with a thin red line going through it. 

One day, a man named Paul Dunwell, the creator of the NC Fallen Fireman’s Foundation asked if he could use the tag to honor their fallen comrades. Fire departments nationwide quickly embraced the symbol and used it to honor firefighter who gave their all protecting others.  

Show your respect to our country’s heroes with a Thin Red Line U.S. Flag from Crafted from lightweight polyester, it’s the perfect way to honor the bravest among us.  

Meaning of Other Black and White American Flags  

A monochromatic United States flag is a powerful symbol for many different causes. Explore some of the most popular below.  

Thin Green Line  

The Thin Green Line Flag represents first responders serving as border patrol agents, park rangers, conservation personnel, and more. The green line is only in the center, while the union and black and white stripes remain monochromatic. This placement is done to represent the battle between light and dark, order and chaos, with the green bringing law and order.  

Thin Grey Line  

The thin grey line stands for corrections officers, including parole officers, bailiffs, and jailers. The color represents the jail cell bars and handcuffs used for protection and law enforcement. The First Responders Honor Flag is a stunning tribute to the men and women who dedicate their lives to the protection of American citizens. It features seven stripes representing corrections, dispatch, EMS, nurse, firefighters, police, and military.  

Thin Gold Line  

The thin gold line brings visibility to emergency dispatchers and the critical role they play in law enforcement. They are the quiet strength behind the scenes, facilitating connections and helping keep people safe. Show your appreciation to those who answer the call with the Thin Gold Line Flag from  

Thin Pink Line  

The thin pink line flag showcases the strength and power of women and heroic breast cancer survivors. It serves as a reminder of the bravery of those who fight the hardest battles and never give up. Fly your own Thin Pink Line Flag crafted from lightweight polyester and show your support for women battling breast cancer.  

FAQ About Black and White American Flags  

The black and white American flag is a unique and powerful emblem uniting Americans across the country, from California to New York. Learn more about this beautiful symbol below.  

Does the Black and White American Flag Violate the Flag Code?  

No, the black and white flag doesn't violate the U.S Flag Code because it’s not technically an American Flag. Since it doesn’t contain the official colors of the American flag, it is not considered the official ensign of the country. The flag code considers the black and white U.S. flag just a regular flag.  

Can Civilians Fly Thin Blue Line Flags and Other Black and White American Flags?  

Absolutely! Flying these flags is an excellent way to show your support for first responders and those who help protect our country. 

What Does the Upside Down Black and White Flag Mean?  

Flying an upside-down flag signifies distress. Some people fly their black and white American flag upside down as a form of protest or to symbolize a nation in distress.  

Purchase a Thin Blue Line American Flag from is proud to offer high-quality thin blue line American flags crafted by expert flag makers in the U.S.A. Showcase your respect and appreciation for those who put their lives on the line with a beautiful and patriotic flag display.