CLEVELAND, OH CMCN's MidWest FAST recently moved two inspiring textile objects: historical United States flags. Interestingly enough, they were moved to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The mission of the center is to “reveal stories about freedom's heroes, from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom today.” The image with this article is of historical interest as an artifact from the Revolutionary War era. Its design is attributed to naval flags of the era and its star arrangement is found on only one other recorded flag. The 13-star flag is on loan from the Mary E. Mooney family of Cincinnati after conservation work at ICA in Cleveland.
A second flag we moved was flown by the Cincinnati Black Brigade. Organized in September 1862, the 700 men brigade served for three weeks, unarmed and without uniforms, building roads and fortifications in Northern Kentucky for the defense of Cincinnati from confederate troops. It was presented to the brigade by a Capt. Jas. Lupton who accompanied it with the following address: "I have the kind permission of your commandant, Col. Dickson, to hand you, without formal speech or presentation, this national flag, -- my sole object to encourage and cheer you on to duty. On its broad folds is inscribed, 'THE BLACK BRIGADE OF CINCINNATI.' I am confident, that, in your hands, it will not be dishonored.
"The duty of the hour is work, -- hard, severe labor on the fortifications of the city. In the emergency upon us, the highest and the lowest alike owe this duty. Let it be cheerfully undertaken. He is no man who now, in defense of home and fireside, shirks duty.
"A flag is the emblem of sovereignty - a symbol and guarantee of protection. Every nation and people are proud of the flag of their country. England, for a thousand years boasts her Red flag and Cross of St. George; France glories in her Tri-color and Imperial Eagle; ours the 'Star-spangled Banner,' far more beautiful than they - this dear old flag! - the sun in heaven never looked down on so proud a banner of beauty and glory. Men of the Black Brigade, rally around it! Assert your manhood, be loyal to duty, be obedient, hopeful, patient. Slavery will soon die; the slaveholders' rebellion, accursed of God and man, will shortly and miserably perish. There will then be, through all the coming ages, in very truth, a land of the free - one country, one flag, one destiny.
I charge you, men of the Black Brigade of Cincinnati, remember that for you, and for me, and for your children, and your children's children, there is but one Flag, as there is but one Bible, and one God, the Father of us all."
The flag is on loan to the Freedom Center by the Ohio Historical Society.