“Eight stars of gold on a field of blue…” was the basis of a design submitted by a 13-year-old Aleut boy from Seward in the 1927 contest to design a flag for the territory of Alaska. Benny Benson’s story is told in the Sept-Oct issue of Alaskan History Magazine, and several of the competing designs from the contest are also displayed.
Also included is a bit of related history, the Alaska’s Flag poem by Marie Drake, set to music composed by Elinor Dusenbury, and how it became Alaska’s state song. Benny’s design was adopted by the Alaska Territorial Legislature in May, 1927. He was awarded a gold watch engraved with his flag design, and $1,000, equal to about $15,000 today, to apply to his education. Benny’s description submitted with his design explained: “The blue field is for the Alaska Sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaskan flower. The North Star is for the future of Alaska, the most northerly in the union. The Dipper is for the Great Bear – symbolizing strength.”
The Sept-Oct issue, with this article and many others, can be ordered from the Alaskan History Magazine website.