For 39 years, the Confederate battle flag — an instantly recognizable blue “X,” bedecked with white stars, against a red background — flew atop the Capitol dome in Columbia, South Carolina. It still flies on the State House grounds, and the governor wants it removed.
It is different from the South Carolina state flag, which features a white crescent moon and palmetto tree against a field of indigo.
But in at least five other Southern states, symbols of the old Confederacy form part of the state flags themselves.
The state flag of Arkansas features four stars and the name of the state inside a diamond. Three stars correspond to countries to which Arkansas belonged before its official statehood.
The fourth was added by the Legislature in 1923 to represent the Confederacy, according to a state historian. The next year, separate legislation positioned the fourth star above the state name and put the other three below.
Florida’s state flag thus strongly resembles Alabama’s. Separately, a version of the Confederate flag known as the Stainless Banner flew over the west entrance of the Capitol from 1978 until 2001, when Gov. Jeb Bush ordered it removed.
In 1956, Georgia adopted a flag that prominently incorporated the battle emblem. It came down in 2001 in favor of a compromise flag that made the Confederate imagery much smaller.
The current flag was adopted in 2003. It is the first national flag of the Confederacy, known as the Stars and Bars, with the state’s symbolic arch added inside a circle of stars. Georgia voters endorsed it by a 3-to-1 margin in a 2004 referendum.
Erin McClam is a senior writer for NBC News, responsible for reporting, writing and editing general news for NBCNews.com. Prior to joining the site in January 2013, McClam worked at The Associated Press, where he spent 13 years and was most recently financial markets editor. In that role, McClam was responsible for a team of five reporters and a deputy editor that covered the stock and bond markets, financial regulation and the nation's largest banks.
Prior to that role, McClam held a variety of jobs at AP, including being a national correspondent and an original member of its Top Stories Desk editing operation.