A Story About Carrie Evans

How Viral Flag Topics Got to the Top of the Docket

Kyle Palmer
17 min readNov 30, 2021


On September 30th, 2021, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to Shurtleff v. Boston. The case concerns whether flying a non-governmental flag on government property would be considered government speech. While some will see this case in religious terms — the plaintiff is suing to fly the Christian Flag — it may be better understood as a case about all non-governmental flags, which includes the Pride Flag.

The Supreme Court will hear the case on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022.

I have some history with at least one, non-governmental flag. Back in 2019, I documented the fallout of a local effort in Dublin, California to fly high a flag designed by Gilbert Baker. In September 2020, Minot, North Dakota would tangle itself into international notoriety spawning from the decision to fly Gilbert’s flag, more commonly known as the Pride Flag.

One major difference between these rainbow-powered flights is Alderwoman Carrie Evans. Her improvised (and later viral) defense of the Pride Flag transformed a city-sized kerfuffle into an international affair.

What follows is a three-part chronicle on the events before and after a speech about a Pride Flag echoed beyond a city that today no longer allows a Pride Flag, or other non-governmental flags, to fly.

The Magic City Boomerang Service

Established in 1887, Minot, otherwise known as the Magic City, was bourne of temporary necessity as complications arose during the construction of a lumber trestle bridge that was situated along the Great Northern Railway. The city is named after Henry Davis Minot, a director at the railway who was killed in a trainwreck. According to the City’s website, “A tent town sprung up overnight, as if by magic, thus the city came to be known as the ‘Magic City.’ ”

Gassman Coulee Trestle — Wikimedia Commons

Set in the western half of North Dakota the city’s economy is predominantly derived business of farms, educational institutions, its military base, the development surrounding the Bakken Oil Field…