A replica ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ is posted on the side of the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 27, 2016.
Raymond Boyd | Getty Images
An apparent attempt at celebrating America’s history turned into political outrage this week, when Nike pulled its sneakers depicting an early version of the American flag, after former NFL football player Colin Kaepernick reportedly told the company the image is offensive and tied to slavery.
The controversy faced by Nike is the most recent example of the danger of relying on historical icons as modern interpretation changes along with political discord.
The 13-star flag, which was America’s first, is said to have been designed by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross (though historians note that lore was propagated by her grandson, and never confirmed). While Ross lived during slavery, her flag’s relationship to white supremacy was not immediately clear to a number of historians contacted by CNBC. The political leanings of Ross are…