RALEIGH, N.C. — It’s not common to see Raleigh’s flag flying around the city. Some people who live there say many people don’t even know Raleigh has a flag because it was created more than a century ago and is outdated.

A grassroots movement is now reimagining the city's flag as a more modern and unifying symbol for the city.

What You Need To Know

  • Raleigh’s current flag was designed in 1899, and some residents say it’s not seen around the city because it’s outdated

  • A grassroots movement is reimagining the Raleigh flag as a more modern and unifying symbol for the city

  • The new flag design features an acorn and incorporates elements from the 1899 flag like Sir Walter Raleigh’s coat of arms

  • Organizers of this grassroots movement hope to eventually petition Raleigh City Council to adopt the new flag

“Raleighites really like living here. They're proud of the city. There's a desire out there to be able to express that identity through a symbol,” Brian Rineer, an organizer of the New Raleigh Flag, said.

The “New Raleigh Flag” is the result of a grassroots movement that’s rethinking Raleigh’s current double-sided flag, designed in 1899.

“The Raleigh seal, which if you look at good flag design, is a no-no for a lot of flags to just slap a city seal on it. Then if you flip it around, you do get Sir Walter Raleigh’s coat of arms,” Matt Lail, an organizer of the New Raleigh Flag, said.

Front and back sides of 1899 Raleigh flag design. (Courtesy: New Raleigh Flag)

Rineer and Lail are just two of the residents who started organizing things during the pandemic.

“We were flying the 1899 flag at our house at that time and, because it was lockdown, when people would come over to hang out, we just stayed outside on the porch. So people looked at the flag and said, ‘What flag is that?’ And these are people who live in town, even people who grew up here and they didn't even know that we had this flag,” Rineer said.

They enlisted the talents of family and friends to design a new flag, incorporating an acorn for the City of Oaks and Sir Walter Raleigh’s coat of arms.

“The idea is, well, can we create a flag that sort of preserves the themes of that 1899 flag but is a lot more simple, easy to recognize and that we can kind of use as our our standard, as our banner to kind of rally under and face whatever challenges we have to meet as a city,” Rineer said.

“I've thought for years that this is something that Raleigh has kind of been lacking, but it's something that that could bring people together,” Lail said.

To date, they’ve distributed and sold about 65 of these new flags. It’s a movement powered by people who love Raleigh, with the goal of unifying the community.

New Raleigh flag flying in front of a house downtown. (Courtesy: Mahmoud Khader / New Raleigh Flag)

“Even though it's still kind of early and people are just finding out about this flag and this idea, there are people of all different stripes flying the flag. I mean, people of different races, religions, sexual orientations, political affiliations,” Rineer said. “How often does that really happen?”

In addition to homeowners, some Raleigh businesses are also flying this new flag, including Crank Arm Brewing Company in downtown. This new design has not been designated as the city’s official flag, but organizers of this grassroots movement hope to eventually petition Raleigh City Council to adopt it.

To learn more about the 1899 Raleigh flag or this new design, visit the New Raleigh Flag website.