January 26th, 2007 Confederate Heritage Rally for Bryce Archambo:
“It was almost like the Devil didn’t want us to be here”…
Those were the words spoken by T. Warren, of T. Warren and the Rebellion after arriving at the Centene Center in Farmington, Missouri. On the drive up I had received a phone call from Bryce asking if I knew where T. was at, and that people were starting to get worried. He was supposed to be there at 2:00 and it was pushing 4:30, people were worried, and now, quite frankly so was I. I assured Bryce and his family over the phone and again upon arrival that T. Warren was a man of his word, and that he was always on time, (I’m the one who is usually late to events). T. and his band made it in at 5:30 pm, thirty minutes before the rally was to start. It turns out that T.’s daughter had car trouble before he left, which he fixed only to hear her say “Oh by the way dad, you have a flat tire on your van” afterwards. This too he fixed. Meanwhile, one of his band members had been the only witness to a very bad traffic accident on the way to his house and was detained by the police for 30 minutes to give a report of it. Once rolling, they had fuel pump problems, that required roadside repairs, but despite it all, he and his band made it.
I myself was wondering if I was going to make it to the event. The previous day I was sidelined with a bad case of the flu and was bed ridden for a full day. Though weak, I woke up Friday feeling good enough to go.
Upon arrival I was finally able to meet the Archambo family. There are just not enough good things I can say about them. They have all rallied around young Bryce and have supported him , the way that they have been maligned by some in the press and the School district ,can only be described as “shameful” at best.
Two television stations and at least one newspaper reporter were on the scene to report about the event. It seemed that if the “Devil didn’t want us to be there”, the press didn’t care one way or the other, which was not unexpected.
First to speak that evening was Mr. Gary Ayres, commander of the John T. Coffee Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans. He took to the stage to discuss the importance of parental involvement in the school system and reminded everyone that we the tax payers, are the ones that financially support the school districts in our state, and that the school districts are supposed to work for us. Commander Ayres urged everyone to take back their schools to prevent our history from being taken away, and to stop further instances of discrimination against those of Southern ancestry.
I was next to take the stage and chose the words of General Patrick Cleburne to set the theme of my speech. Stating that:
In January 1864, General Patrick Cleburne wrote a letter to the Commanding General of the Army of Tennessee. In it, he warned what would happen if the South lost the war, in which it was fighting for its Liberty and Independence. Cleburne stated:
“It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision”
I also noted that it was a perfect example of the treatment Bryce Archambo and others have received at their school.
During my speech I exposed the hypocrisy (and ignorance) of those who state that the Confederate Battle Flag is a symbol of hate, and the reasons why so many so-called civil rights groups spread this myth. Noting that many atrocities were carried out under the banner of the United States flag, I asked the question, “Why are there not calls to ban it from public schools?”
I ended my speech by stating how proud we were of Bryce Archambo, his family and his friends for taking a stand for their heritage and freedom, and urging them to never surrender.
Following my speech was Bryce Archambo’s attorney, Mr. Robert Herman. Mr. Herman is a nationally renowned attorney from St. Louis who specializes in Civil Rights and Free Speech. He is a quiet, soft spoken gentleman, who believes in protecting the ideals and beliefs that America was founded upon and who brilliantly combined these concepts with quotes from more recent American icons like John F. Kennedy. Mr. Herman reminded students that their Constitutional rights did not stop when they walked through the school house door. He represents all that is right about this country, and the principles and beliefs that should be taught in the “school house”.
Mr. Dewey Barber, founder and owner of the Dixie Outfitters clothing company was next to take the stage. Mr. Barber is a true Southern gentleman, a Statesman and a great American patriot. His speech focused on the effects that the War of Southern Independence had and is still having on our country, stating that the war was about money and power, and that Lincoln would not let the South go in peace because the South was the “cash cow” for the entire country because of the tariffs imposed upon it by the federal government.
Mr. Barber noted that the War for Southern Independence claimed more lives than all American wars combined to this date and while cautioning the audience to not misconstrue his statements as un-American, noted that we are at war in Iraq for the same reasons as the War for Southern Independence was forced upon us; money, power and this time oil as well.
“Can you imagine just one 19 year old young man laying on this stage?”, he asked. “Now can you imagine 10? Can you imagine 300? Can you imagine 3000? You could not fit them all on this stage”, a clearly emotional Dewey Barber stated.
Mr. Barber cautioned the audience about the abuse of power that has evolved in our country, and cautioned that we must return to Constitutional law before we become like Fascist Germany or Communist Russia.
In closing his speech, Mr. Barber asked Mr. H.K. Edgerton to come to the podium, put his arm around him and stated that some would call him a racist, because of his support of Southern heritage. “How can I be a racist?” Mr. Barber asked, “This man is my friend”.
Mr. Barber was not allowed to leave the stage until, T. and Pam Warren presented him with the Lawrence County Illinois Memorial Association Heritage Award. Mr. Warren noted that he is the only person outside of the state of Illinois to achieve this honor. The association was started to honor 12 Confederate veterans from Lawrence County, Illinois.
The press was getting impatient and wanted a few shots of Mr. Edgerton speaking, but when he did take the stage, it was more than evident that they were only interested in getting a few sound bites and hitting the road.
This turned out to be a mistake on their part, because Mr. Edgerton preaches the Gospel of our history with all the fire and brimstone of a Southern evangelist on Sunday morning.
The very first thing Mr. Edgerton did was call all of the Sons of Confederate Veterans on stage and sing Dixie with him, which we all very enthusiastically obliged his request.
After Mr. Edgerton had started his speech, it didn’t take long for one reporter to get his picture and “sound bite”. He approached the stage, grabbed his microphone and started to walk off.
This proved to be the most entertaining, as H.K. Edgerton abruptly stopped his speech and told the reporter, “Mr. Newspaper man! Bring that microphone back!”
Mr. Edgerton told the reporter that he knew he had a deadline to make, but he wanted to give him an education first.
A very reluctant newspaper man briefly walked up to the stage as Mr. Edgerton started to educate him about the contributions that black Americans made to the Confederate cause. Apparently the “truth” didn’t interest this reporter, and it was noticeable to the crowd that soon began to bombard him with statements like, “Don’t edit that part out! Don’t edit that party out!”
God what an inspiration it was to see a crowd of people start to stand up for their rights! It reminded me of the old debates and town hall meetings that we have read about, which used to take place in this country. It took me back to a time when there was actually open debate and representative government.
Mr. Edgerton walked freely about the stage, educating the public about how black and white used to work side by side, and exposed the myth that Lincoln waged war on the South to free the slaves. He noted that after the war they were “freed” with no jobs, no place to go, and soon found themselves at the hands of Yankee carpet baggers, “who paid them a penny a day and then charged them ten cents a day to feed their families at the company store!”
Mr. Edgerton ended his speech with his poem, that he so passionately recited, “I am the Confederate flag”.
An impromptu town hall style meeting followed Mr. Edgerton’s speech as Mr. Joseph Gresham from Kentucky stood up and asked for a moment, and was given the floor. Mr. Gresham introduced himself as the Chairman of the Southern Independence Party of Kentucky. He also told the crowd that he and I were members of the Confederate States of America organization, and that he was a U.S. veteran.
He quickly caught the audiences’ attention, with his long beard and over-alls he began to urge the crowd to research what is happening in our country, and that the loss of freedoms and unconstitutional wars that have been fought all began with Lincoln. Mr. Gresham noted that the United States has not had a “Constitutional” war since World War II, and recommended the book “War is a Racket”, by General Smedley Butler. He also recommended the sermons of Pastor John Weaver , who combines historical lessons of the Confederacy and the Christian principles that its leaders and participants fought for.
Paul Arnold, a public school history teacher, was the next to stand up and introduce himself. He stated the importance of making history interesting to the students. Arnold was quick to point out that he had a Confederate flag hanging in his classroom, so that he could teach students the true meaning and history of it. He was particularly proud that a young black student in his class had chosen to write a paper on the subject of General “Stonewall” Jackson. Arnold recommended a book about local Bushwhacker, Sam Hildebrand.
Regrettably I did not get the name of the next gentleman to stand, however I wish I would have. He volunteers his time and speaks to students in area public schools about Southern history. He recommended the book “The Politically-Incorrect Guide to American History” by Thomas Woods, and said that many local teachers had asked for copies of it!
Afterwards Mr. Edgerton was found in the lobby signing t-shirts as nearly everyone wanted his autograph. Mr. Barber was also signing shirts, and as I went to purchase one, and was waiting to get Mr. Edgerton’s autograph , I found myself surrounded by young people wanting my signature, on their shirts. Commander Ayres and Joe Gresham were also found signing shirts as well. The citizens and young people who turned out were so well behaved and so very grateful , that it was truly a humbling, inspiring and proud moment in my life.
But as Dewey Barber noted in an email to me while I was writing this summary, it is Bryce Archambo along with his family, friends and other students who are the real heroes in this story and it is appropriate that in this part of the summary to note at the end of the ceremony, Bryce as awarded an associate membership in the Knox Camp 2022, Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, by Commander Tom Lavender and T. Warren.
Flag Rally Falls Short of Expectations…
Headline from the Saturday 27th, 2007 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
That is the what the headline in the Saturday January 27th St. Louis Post-Dispatch read. There were so many quotes that the speakers gave that the paper could have quoted, but then again, as in everything else in today’s world, the news media isn’t too concerned with reporting the truth.
I’m sure everyone involved would have preferred that we would have been able to fill the 500 seat arena, but I think the paper was fairly accurate in stating that there was about 100 people in attendance and that one of the possible reasons for not filling the arena was:" the former Farmington High School student had some steep competition just across the street. There, about 800 people gathered to watch the Farmington High boys basketball team play rival North County High."
However T. Warren of "T. Warren and The Rebellion" offered up another explanation for possible low turnout. T. told me after the show that while he was in his R.V. getting ready for the show he heard two police officers tell some young people that , "you don’t want to go in there".
While the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was fairly objective about attendance, that seems to be where objectivity ends in the story. Out of all the speeches given, the Post-Dispatch only used a couple of quotes from H.K. Edgerton, and avoided some of the better points of his speech, like the facts that he presented about black Southerners who fought for the Confederacy, and later suffered along with white Southerners at the hands of Yankee carpet baggers during "Reconstruction".
The paper scrounged around and found the following quotes from two students from Farmington High School:
"Farmington High senior Tony Caruthers, whose father is black, said he was baffled to see Edgerton waving the flag he finds offensive. "I see the flag and know what it stands for," said Tony, who was on his way to the basketball game. "To me, it’s about oppression and hate." Senior class President Jake Goff agreed, and said he has seen kids cruising around town with Confederate flags propped on their trucks right next to Klu Klux Klan symbols. "If it’s so obviously hurting others, what’s the reason for having it?" Jake asked"
What the Post-Dispatch failed to mention is that according to Bryce Archambo, these were the same two students , who while Bryce and his family were protesting the school, were yelling , "Black Power!" , on school property, during school hours. It is also rumored, that these two students made their "Black Power" banner at school, during school hours. If this is true, then it the school’s argument of suspending Bryce for his clothing because it was a possible disturbance, is indeed discriminatory. As to the charges that students were seen driving through town with Confederate flags and "KKK" symbols, I would very much like to know what the symbols were? Perhaps they were Confederate Flags with United States flags flying next to them, for if the Post-Dispatch reporter had stayed long enough to do a real story, they would have learned that the flag of choice of the "KKK" is the United States flag, and that it is unfair to label the Confederate flag because of this.
Is it coincidence that the online report by TV’s News Channel 5 was almost identical to the Post-Dispatch’s?
And amidst all of the racial innuendo’s that the media perpetrated, (such as noting that noting that Tony’ Caruthers father is black) no one seemed to notice that Mr. Edgerton wasn’t merely just "the only black face in the crowd" as the Post-Dispatch put it, but a highly respected speaker, activist, Southern Legal Resource Center Board Member and President of www.southernheritage411.com . Or that Robert Herman is Jewish, or that the musical entertainment was provided by T. Warren, an Osage/Kaw American Indian, but then again, they were all there to support Bryce, Southern Heritage and our cherished freedom.
How could the Post-Dispatch claim that the rally "fell short" of expectations, if the reporter didn’t listen to all of the speakers? For those that did attend, I would say that the rally exceeded expectations.
-Clint E. Lacy, January 28th, 2007