A Look Back

One day after having completed the some 1,600 miles to Texas on the Historic March Across Dixie, I would be sitting in my mom’s living room recounting tales of my adventure with some of my nieces and nephews. I must say that I was getting a little braggadocios in the accounting when my mom stepped into the room and quietly inquired of me, son did you not have on a pair of the best boots that modern man can make? Yes mam was my reply. And did you not spend the night in some of the best motels and hotels and even in the home of Sparks Ramey that I’ve heard you brag about under clean sheets? Yes mam was my reply. You have even claimed that by the time you left Louisiana that you had gained 14 pounds eating on crawfish and lobster tails. I am proud that you made the journey for our homeland, but you must never forget that the men of Jackson, Cleyburn and Lee had no such amenities. These men ate rats and mule meat, droppings of corn left at the horse trough, ground up rocks, slept out in the open wherever they dropped after a day of walking the same twenty miles that you brag about. Some without shoes or socks, or two left foot shoes that didn’t even fit over ground not paved or grass that was cut, carrying guns and stock that weigh many pounds and then having to do battle to boot.

She went on to ask had the plaques of General Lee been placed back on the walls of the Supreme Court building in Austin? No mam was my reply. Had the baby girl in Kentucky been granted another prom so that she might wear the beautiful dress of the Southern Cross that she had made (referring to Jacqueline Duty of Kentucky)? No mam was my reply. Had the children of Hayes High School right there in the Republic of Texas where Terry Lee and I had trod, been allowed to bring back the Southern Cross and cheer once again as the Rebels with a pride not of hate but love? No mam was my reply. Had the babies of Maryville High in Tennessee accomplished the same? No mam was my reply. She could have gone on, but I politely interrupted her with a but mom, and she looked at me with one of those loving mom looks and said, son you have not done enough.

I would quietly go to the corner where my flag stood, pick it up and walk up the street to the Montford Avenue Bridge over Interstate 240 and stand waving at the passerbys. I had not been there long than would Terry Lee pass in the famous maroon I Think I Can Van that had safely carried us on the journey to Texas. HK, he would shout! Did we not just walk to Texas, and did we not just get back yesterday? Why are you standing out there on the bridge? You should be resting. I told him to go and talk to his mama. In less than ten minutes, I saw the Christian Cross of Saint Andrew heading up the road in my direction. It was Terry Lee. When he arrived where I stood, not a word was exchanged between us. He had talked to mom.

Terry Lee and I have received many accolades and honors since that day on the bridge that joins the road where my mom riding on a caisson drawn by two white horses that bore her body on her final earthly journey as the only Black woman to have a Confederate State Funeral, surrounded by her Southern family, Red, Yellow, Black and White, Sons of the Confederate Veterans who had stood over her as she lie in State, the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Ladies of the Order of Confederate Rose that she loved so much, marching to the tune of George Forsythe, a grand bagpiper, and her son Terry Lee with his crew of African Drummers, and I donned in the uniform of the Southern Soldier that she loved so much, and so many from the community that she had served. However, I can hear her from Heaven on high ask: Son what about young Candice Hardwick of Latta High School in South Carolina? What about the babies of Blount County High School in Tennessee? What about the men of Dupont in Richmond, Virginia who lost so much? What about Adrian Paul McClaren of Mississippi? What about the Depot at Ringgold? What about Mandeville High in Louisiana or Salem High in Conyers, Georgia that bans the shirts of Dixie Outfitters that bestowed a historic honor upon you and the name of Edgerton? What about John Hopkins University? Son you have not done enough!

To you Sons of Confederate Veterans, we the Edgertons will commit the vindication of the cause for which you fought. To our strength will be given the defense of the Confederate Soldiers good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved, and those ideals which made him glorious.

H.K. Edgerton