Oklahoma’s First State Flag

by Emma Nicholas


The Red 46 flag certainly wasn’t the first to fly over Oklahoma, but it was our first official state flag.

A model of clean, simple design emboldened by a complete absence of symbolism, the flag boasts the same straight-shooting impact achieved by gas station logos and degreasing products. It depicts a large white star against a field of solid red, with the blue number “46” smack center of it all. The number commemorates the fact that Oklahoma was indeed the 46th state (and not the 45th or 47th); it has nothing to do with anyone’s football jersey or petroleum products.

It’s difficult not to like the first state flag. It’s as forthright and plainspoken as the most patriotic Oklahoman. Sadly, the flag was decommissioned in 1925 over fears that the color red implied an affinity toward communism or socialism–despite the fact that Oklahoma was a socialist stronghold at the time, that it’s name means “Land of the Red People,” and that the entire state rests on a mound of red dirt.

Fortunately, the early spirit of Oklahoma and its flag are kept alive by Red Flag Press, a small journal committed to publishing the thoughts of Oklahoma’s radical thinkers–you can download a sample issue of their journal, The Oklahoma Revelator, here.