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New South Carolina flag design heads back to drawing board

January 2, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A committee trying to standardize the iconic design of the South Carolina state flag is starting over after residents ridiculed the historians’ first attempt.

The Post and Courier reports that the lawmaker-selected team of historians chosen to straighten out the design are taking critics’ complaints in stride.

The South Carolina flag features a palmetto tree and a crescent on an indigo background. But the state has lacked a standard flag design since 1940, meaning flag manufacturers are at liberty to choose their own shades of blue and adjust the curve of the crescent to their liking.

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Lawmakers put together a team of historians in 2018 to study the flag’s earliest iterations and draw up a historically accurate design.

The historians chose a color, Pantone 282 C, based on that of the uniforms worn by Col. William Moultrie’s 2nd South Carolina Regiment in the Revolutionary War. The shape of the crescent was decided upon the symbol that Moultrie’s troops wore on their hats.

And the palmetto itself was modeled after a pencil sketch by Charleston artist Ellen Heyward Jervey, first drawn for A.S. Salley, the first secretary of South Carolina’s Historical Commission, who designed the 1910 state flag.

After the newspaper first publicized the proposed design, the historians responded to thousands of complaints, many deriding the quality of the palmetto tree depiction, by acknowledging they were going back to the drawing board.

Committee member Scott Malyerck told the newspaper that in hindsight, the flag committee sacrificed aesthetics for historical accuracy and that he estimated some 95% of the response to the flag design has been negative.

“We don’t want to put anything forth that folks are not going to like,” Malyerck said.