City Life

How Maurice Cheeks helped repopularize Madison's city flag

Cheeks and Arvina Martin pushed for flag redesign

We’re wondering if we can find anyone who loves Madison’s city flag more than Madison Common Council Alder Maurice Cheeks.

The Madison Common Council alder is in large part responsible for the flag’s revived popularity. In 2015, Cheeks authored and passed a resolution that established the price of flying the city flag on city-controlled permanent flagpoles in an effort to get more flags flying in the city. Then in 2018, he and fellow alder Arvina Martin pushed for a slight redesign of the flag to remove a culturally appropriated Native American symbol from the middle of it.

Today, you’ll likely find Madison’s flag proudly flown all over town. The flag, originally designed by Rick Stone and Dennis Stone, mimics the city’s topography — the blue represents lakes Mendota and Monona, and the white represents the isthmus.

“The design and colors of our flag inspire me to remember that for many generations now, people have found themselves in this place — which was once swampland — and have endeavored to see that this place can become a uniquely beautiful community, in this uniquely beautiful place,” says Cheeks. 

This is a blurb from the May 2019 cover story, "50 Things That Give Madison Color." Click here to see the rest of the list.


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