Alexander Co. Schools Reject SCV Magazine

The Taylorsville (NC) Times reports below on the public meeting held Monday night, in which the Alexander County (NC) Board of Education heard from members of the North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, in support of placing the Confederate Veteran magazine in Alexander County Schools. According to the article, "another open meeting will be scheduled, and then the committee will present its recommendation to the full board."

Please continue to contact Superintendent Jack Hoke at PO Box 128, Taylorsville NC 28681, at (828) 632-7001, or via e-mail at

Group seeks placement of ‘Confederate Veteran’ magazine in schools

By Micah Henry

The Alexander County Sons of the Confederate Veterans are fighting, but not with cannons or swords as their forefathers did. Instead, they are fighting by entering an appeal to the Alexander County Board of Education to allow their national organization’s magazine to be placed in three school libraries in Alexander County.

The Board’s Appeals Committee, consisting of Chairman Dale Clary, Josh Lail, and Terry Foster, held a meeting Monday, Oct. 24, at 6 p.m. to allow the SCV and the school system (represented by Superintendent Jack Hoke) to voice their views. Each group had a maximum time limit of 15 minutes.

Some readers may remember several months ago when the Board made the decision to deny a request by the local SCV Rocky Face Rangers Camp 1948 to place the group’s national magazine, The Confederate Veteran, in the libraries of Alexander Central High School and East Alexander and West Alexander Middle schools.

Superintendent Hoke mentioned this as he spoke before the committee on Monday night. He stated that Board Chairman Craig Mayberry received a letter from Larry Church, Camp 1948 Commander, seeking permission to attend the March school board meeting to request permission to place The Confederate Veteran magazine in the three schools.

"I talked to Chairman Mayberry about the request, and we followed the same procedure we followed the previous year for a similar request," Hoke said.

This consisted of each school receiving six copies of the magazine, which were then reviewed by a media advisory committee at each school.

"All three schools recommended not to accept the magazine for their media centers," Hoke stated. "And I uphold these recommendations based on one issue, and each school mentioned it in their recommendations. We cannot allow the media center or the school to be an avenue for this group, or any group in the community or outside the community, to have a captive audience with our students to further their particular cause."

"The purpose of the media center is to enrich and support the state- adopted curriculum while improving literacy and technological skills. We have 188 titles in the media center at ACHS dealing with the Civil War," Hoke continued. "I feel this amount of material is appropriate for the coverage of the Civil War and its causes, and this material supports the state-adopted curriculum. We currently just have 12 magazines in our media center in the high school. In this day and age, everything is pretty much Web-based."

Hoke, did note, however, that the SCV has "an excellent website, which, in my opinion, virtually every student has access to on the Internet at their house."

"If we allow this group to put their magazine in, then it would open up to any and every group for their particular cause or their point of view in the media center with a captive audience," Hoke said in conclusion.

Larry Church was next to speak to the committee. He presented a petition with some 1,400 signatures on it to the three board members as well as an issue of The Confederate Veteran, which contained an article on the late C. A. Bumgarner, a fallen solider from Alexander County.

"By placing The Confederate Veteran, we feel that students will have a better opportunity to understand the War Between the States and be proud of their heritage. History is written by the victors, and that’s what we have in our schools today," said Church.

"The Confederate Veteran gives true causes of the War Between the States and why the Confederate solider gave that last full measure to his country," Church remarked. "Why Alexander County furnished more than 1,000 of her brave sons, of which more than 321 lost their lives."

"Our Confederate ancestors did not fight to preserve slavery, as some would have you to believe," he added. "They fought because Abra-ham Lincoln ordered an invasion upon Southern soil, just as we would today if our country was invaded by another country. Slavery was not the issue."

Next to speak was Daniel Bolick, SCV Blue Ridge Brigade Commander.

"It seems like the school must suspect there must be an ulterior motive in placing the magazine," said Bolick. "I’m glad to report that the Sons of Confederate Veterans is not affiliated with any racist or radical group. We are a historical honor society, and our magazine will verify this."

Bolick noted the format of the magazine includes SCV camp meeting information, columns from officers and the editor, and general interest articles that describe both Confederate battles and civilian life.

Church then introduced H.K. Edgerton, past president of the Asheville NAACP Chapter, Chairman of the Board of Advisory of the Southern League Resources Center, President of the North Carolina Preservation Association, and a long-time SCV member in Texas and Arkansas divisions.

He read aloud a letter he wrote to President Bush in Nov. 2004. In the letter, he noted that he walked 1,106 miles from Asheville to the Texas Supreme Court Building in Austin in 2002, carrying a Confederate flag, to demand the replacement of two Confederate plaques that had been removed.

"All along my march to Austin, I was greeted by

[an] astounding outpouring of love and support from blacks and whites alike, ordinary Southerners who share a common heritage," Edgerton said. "My people daily see their children force-fed politically correct lies in the public schools, where they are institutionally bullied and intimidated if they wear clothing depicting the flag that former President Carter once called, `a legitimate American icon’."

The SCV group ran out of time, and Edgerton had to curtail his speech but was allowed a short summation.

"I’m so very sad that this school [system] has even considered the continued cultural genocide of our people," Edgerton stated. He placed several books and newspaper articles on the committee’s desk during his rousing summary.

Committee Chair Clary expressed his confidence in the full board, saying, "They are people of integrity. This panel will not make the ultimate decision. We will make a recommendation to the full board, who then will vote on that."

Clary noted that another open meeting will be scheduled, and then the committee will present its recommendation to the full board. Terry Foster asked if The Confederate Veteran is in any public libraries. Bolick said that he was sure the magazine is supplied to one library in Catawba County.

Hoke commented that the magazine is in several South Carolina schools. "The only one I could find in North Carolina is East Rowan High School, down near Salisbury."

"Up until this point, this is the first information I’ve been given, from either viewpoint," Josh Lail said. "I have not personally been bombarded or pressured by either [group]. We will give this as unbiased and as fair a shot as we can, and we will ultimately make the recommendation that we feel is the best thing we can do for the children of Alexander County."

— In, wrote:

The Charlotte (NC) Observer reports below that Alexander County (NC) schools have rejected a gift subscription of Confederate Veteran magazine from the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

According to the report, Superintendent Jack Hoke rejected the gift but declined to give a reason. A hearing is scheduled for 24 October.

Hoke can be contacted at PO Box 128, Taylorsville NC 28681, at (828) 632-7001, or via e-mail at
Offer of journal for schools stirs up Alexander County

Hannah Mitchell
Staff Writer

To Harold Dagenhart, whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, today’s students do not learn the full story of the conflict.

Southern secession was about more than preserving slavery, he said, but textbooks do not reflect that. That’s why the Alexander County camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to place Confederate Veteran magazine in the county’s high school and two middle schools.

Nearly 400 Alexander County soldiers died in the war, and that should not be forgotten, Dagenhart said.

"Political correctness has seeped into the fabric of the country. People of Southern origin are made to feel ashamed of their heritage," he said. "Anybody who now advances anything Confederate is looked down upon as racist."

In May, the camp asked the school system to put the magazine, a journal published by Sons of Confederate Veterans, in the three schools’ libraries. Its members offered to provide a year’s issues. Superintendent Jack Hoke rejected the request after media advisory committees at each school recommended against it.

Last month, the camp appealed to the county school board, which appointed a panel of its members to hear the group’s case and make a recommendation to the full board. A hearing on the appeal is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 24.

Hoke, who will make the schools’ presentation to the panel, would not reveal his reasoning for declining the camp’s request. "The panel is supposed to be unbiased, with no prior information," he said.

The Rev. Sterling Howard sees the issue quite differently than Dagenhart. Howard, president of the Alexander branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Confederate Veteran has no place in the schools.

"Some things need to be forgotten. What a lot of people don’t think about is that we were the ones who suffered. It’s time for us to get past that, too. It’s like it’s putting it back in our face," Howard said. "We’ve got more important issues facing this country."

Howard rejects the notion that the Civil War did not hinge on slavery. "The South was fighting to keep slaves," he said. "Don’t tell me I’ve got a toothache if I’ve got cancer."

But the Civil War played too big a part in Alexander County’s history to be hidden in the past, Dagenhart said. "If we don’t know where we’ve been, we don’t know where we’re going, so I think it’s important to study all aspects of history."

Since the local Sons camp formed in 2001, its membership of about 70 has worked to repair and replace dozens of damaged or missing Confederate veterans’ grave markers in local cemeteries, including a memorial marker for Pvt. David Bumgarner that it will dedicate Nov. 27 at Salem Lutheran Church in Taylorsville.

To become a camp member, one must prove kinship to a Confederate veteran who served honorably.

The group is not racist, Dagenhart said. That perception has come about "as a result of the Ku Klux Klan having used the (Confederate) flag in some in their activities," he said. "They kind of commandeered the flag for their own use. We screen our candidates for membership who could spoil the bushel of apples."