An Open Report – Abbeville & Salem High School In Conyers, Georgia
On Saturday, December 6, 2008 in step with the African drum that my little brother would so beautifully play, alongside the Sons of Confederate Veterans, I would march to the town square in beautiful Abbeville, South Carolina. I would be remiss in my duties if I did not report of the gracious Ms. Doris who provided us with a beautiful room in the Belmont Inn, and showered us with unprecedented Southern Hospitality. For her kindness I shall be eternally grateful.
In this little town of Abbeville, on November 22, 1860 in a meeting in the home of his dear friend Armistead Burt (Burt – Stark Mansion), the Honorable President Jefferson Davis would launch the beginnings of what would become the act that led South Carolina to secede from the Union. On the front porch to a crowd gathered, I, the son of former slaves, would deliver a speech in honor of this great American who would be chained to a bed in a dungeon at Fort Monroe by his captors for no other reason than that he dared to lead his Southern family in a lawful separation from those who would circumvent the letter of the law of the Constitution that the nation had vowed to honor.
It was a grand site to see the many Black men and women who would gather at the town square in a festive mood with Terry Lee, whose drum was decked out with thirteen Confederate flags that he decorates his drum with in honor of the 13 Confederate States. After having lunch in one of the oldest restaurants, visiting the Patriot shop and doing a radio interview with a young Black radio personality (Smoke) and his co-announcers, participating in a skirmish in which I was happy that the Confederates won, Terry Lee would give several families who were on the grounds of the Mansion a drumming lesson, and we would bid everyone adieu and head home. It had been a great day in Dixie.
Monday morning, December 8, I would travel to Conyers, Georgia donned in my finest Dixie Outfitters apparel, and carrying the Confederate Battle flag, I would position myself at the front entrance of Salem High School, whose administration had banned the Southern Cross and all Dixie Outfitters apparel from being worn by its students.
The Assistant Principal was the first to arrive at approximately 6:45 AM at the place where I stood. He promptly told me that I was on school property and had to leave. I politely pointed out to him that I was on the sidewalk of the public easement, and that I was not going to go anywhere. He said that he was going to call the police on me. I told him that would please me. As he turned away to head back to the school, three young black boys approached me. The expressions on their faces immediately put me on guard for an unpleasant encounter. One would ask what I was doing there? I promptly told him that I was expressing my 1st amendment right to protest an unfair and discriminating action of his school’s ban of Dixie Outfitters apparel being worn by his peers, and my flags display. He asked if I had to take such drastic action to get my point across. I said yes. I asked the three if they had been taught about the Black Confederate soldier and his families that had earned a place of honor under this great flag. Not to my amazement they all said that they didn’t even know that there was such a thing as a Confederate soldier. After much dialogue, one exclaimed that they had been brainwashed. As the last of the three was hugging me, the Principal arrived on the scene. She looked somewhat perplexed at the sight of this show of affection that I had just received. A car passing would ask her something and she would indicate that she had called Ed and that he was on the way. Just about that time, a young Black Deputy Sheriff climbed out of his car and promptly told me that I would have to leave because I was on school property. I said no sir, I’m in the public easement expressing my 1st amendment right.
The young deputy would ask for my ID, and moments later another White Deputy would arrive, somewhat more demanding in his attitude towards me. He wanted to know if I had any weapons or dope on me, and demanded to see my driver’s license for himself. I decided that it was time to call the Southern Legal Resource Center as it was apparent that law that did not exist was now being quoted to me. After disturbing Kirk D. Lyons at his Monday morning church breakfast and having him ask me if there was a magistrate present and informing me to tell these deputies that the best course of action for them was to get hold of their supervisor before they made a terrible mistake of false imprisonment of me. The black officer pointed to the Principal and said that she nor the school board had invited me to the school and once again I was in a school zone illegally. He finally got his supervisor on the line and after a short time began conversing with the principal.
He approached me with a very warm and different demeanor and said, "Mr. Edgerton, you have broken no laws and as long as you don’t cross onto the school yard, you sir may stay as long as you like." The white deputy wanted to know how long I planned on staying and if I would be visiting any other schools, so that he could inform any other officers not to make the same mistake that they had done.
I told them after they had made some statement that I ought to talk to the Principal that I would love to talk to her, and shortly thereafter we did have a very pleasant conversation. She wanted to know why I had picked her school when other schools had instituted similar actions. I told her that I was proud of her being a Black lady Principal, but that the action of this federal school with its Reconstruction mandate designed to divide and separate Southern Blacks and Southern Whites with distorted history was wrong. I asked her to go to my web site and she said she would. I told her that she needed to speak to the school board the wrong in their actions and at the very least teach the Southern side of this tale they told.
Even after she had tried to have me removed and possibly imprisoned, I found Ms. Bloodworth to be a very honorable and caring lady who was just doing the bidding of those she served. She expressed that she had so much work to do and that it was so very cold standing there with me, something she had taken upon herself out of fear for my safety from those who passed with their nasty commentary would cause me no harm. She also expressed that Christmas break was coming soon and there was so much to do. Out of respect and care for this eloquent lady who now stood before me, I would furl my flag, give her a big hug as she quipped God bless you sir, and head for home.