Palmetto pride: South Carolina state flag sparks debate

VIDEO: Palmetto pride: South Carolina state flag sparks debate

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - South Carolina senators may soon take up one of the most divisive issues to hit the state in years — standardizing the design of the iconic palmetto tree and crescent state flag.

The first design uses the palmetto tree that first appeared on the second official state flag, which was adopted in 1910 while also utilizing elements of the original palmetto sketch submitted to A.S. Salley by Ellen Heyward Jervey during that same year, the committee’s documents state.
The first design uses the palmetto tree that first appeared on the second official state flag, which was adopted in 1910 while also utilizing elements of the original palmetto sketch submitted to A.S. Salley by Ellen Heyward Jervey during that same year, the committee’s documents state. (Source: South Carolina Government)

A Senate subcommittee Tuesday approved two possible designs.

A committee of historians came up with the new options following subsequent public comments that were largely negative of the palmetto tree designs in the original report.

The state’s General Assembly requested the State Flag Study Committee provide the alternate designs for consideration.

The second design features a palmetto tree that has appeared on state flags since at least 1953, according to the committee. At nearly 70 years old, it exceeds the 50-year-old criteria for being considered “historic” by historians and the National Register of Historic Places. The origins of this palmetto design are uncertain, though it was being used by a commercial flag manufacturer by the mid 20th century.
The second design features a palmetto tree that has appeared on state flags since at least 1953, according to the committee. At nearly 70 years old, it exceeds the 50-year-old criteria for being considered “historic” by historians and the National Register of Historic Places. The origins of this palmetto design are uncertain, though it was being used by a commercial flag manufacturer by the mid 20th century. (Source: South Carolina Government)

Historians say their first design uses the palmetto tree that first appeared on the second official state flag and elements of the original sketch dating back to 1910.

They say the second design features a palmetto tree of uncertain origin that has appeared on state flags since at least 1953.

“At nearly 70 years old, it exceeds the 50-year-old criteria for being considered “historic” by historians and the National Register of Historic Places,” the documents state.

The Legislature has never set into law the exact way the palmetto tree and crescent should look, nor the exact shade of indigo blue for the background.

In fact, right now the South Carolina flag hoisted daily over the Statehouse looks different than the one that flies in the House and Senate chambers.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.