Tuesday, February 6th 2007
Southeast Missourian Editor, Joe Sullivan
I recently submitted the following article to Joe Sullivan, Editor of the Southeast Missourian newspaper, asking him to consider running it as an Opinion-Editorial:
"Since February is Black History Month, I’d like to tell everyone about a Civil Rights leader who is often overlooked by the mainstream media. His name is Mr. H.K. Edgerton and he is the former President of the Asheville, N.C. NAACP Chapter, and a black Confederate flag and civil rights activist.Mr. Edgerton serves on the Board of Advisors for the Southern Legal Resource Center and is president of www.southernheritage411.com , a non for profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about true Southern history and heritage.Mr. Edgerton first became involved in defending Southern heritage after learning from his brother Terry Lee Edgerton, that their family had Confederate ancestors, and he has been fighting to defend that heritage ever since.When plaques of many prominent Confederate figures were removed from the Texas Supreme Court building under the leadership of then Governor George W. Bush, H.K. picked up his Confederate Battle Flag and literally marched from N.C. to Texas ( a distance of 1,600 miles) to protest this act, and to raise money for the defense of our heritage.
Since the year 2000 Mr. Edgerton has been contacted by over 400 students (who he refers to as his “babies”) whose schools have banned the Confederate flag, or suspended them for wearing the symbols of their ancestors. In fact, he has made two trips to Missouri in the past year alone. One was to support Bryce Archambo who was suspended for wearing Confederate clothing in Farmington High School, and the other was a young man from an Oak Grove, Missouri school, who was suspended for doing a report on H.K. for Black History month!
Mr. Edgerton views the Confederate Flag as the flag for all Southerners, and in a speech to the Texas United Daughters of the Confederacy in 2005 stated that, “Right up until 1865 we, the people of Texas, and the South … black & white… were family. It took the horrible years of Reconstruction and all the wiles of the carpetbaggers and scalawags to divide black and white. And in many cases, tragically, they succeeded.”
In 2002, H.K. was protesting a hospital’s banning of the Confederate and Georgia state flag while holding a sign that read “Heritage not Hate”. He was approached by a 15 year old black youth who asked what the sign meant, and before he could explain, was assaulted by the boy, but refused to press charges, insisting instead that the youth be returned to his mother.
Shortly after President Bush’s reelection in 2004, H.K. wrote a letter to him stating that, “Earlier this week the South, voting as a solid bloc for the first time in decades, helped you achieve a second term in office. Now I am writing to request a meeting with you to discuss ways of achieving cultural justice for millions of these same Southerners, who find themselves the victims of the only prejudice and discrimination still allowed in America.”
When Edgerton did not receive an answer, he attended a Town-Hall meeting that featured President Bush in his hometown of Asheville, N.C.. Before the President could begin his speech, H.K. yelled out loud, “Mr. President. Are you going to take any questions from the cheap seats?”, and then informed him that he had a letter he would like him to read. The president sent two secret service agents to obtain it, opened it up, and thanked him.
When his mother died , H.K. learned an hour before the funeral was to take place, that the oldest Black church in North Carolina had denied her entrance for a funeral. Another church was found, and it is believed that she is the only Black women in history to receive a Confederate State Funeral ceremony. It is reported that during the procession people lined the streets to honor her.
Mr. Edgerton has stated that "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids national origin discrimination and defines national origin as the place where your ancestors came from. . .You and I fit every criterion to be considered Confederate Southern Americans under federal law – and therefore entitled to the protection of the law as a people."
On Friday January 26th, 2007 I had the honor of sharing a stage with H.K. Edgerton along with Civil Rights attorney Bob Herman, Gary Ayres of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Dewey Barber, owner of the Dixie Outfitters Clothing Company, along with musician /singer-songwriter Terry Warren.
As stated before, H.K. is Black. Attorney Bob Herman is Jewish and Terry Warren is an Osage Indian. All of us had traveled to support Bryce Archambo and help educate the public about Southern Heritage, and defend free speech.
There were many different cultures represented that evening, and it serves as proof positive that the Confederate Battle Flag (also known as the Cross of St. Andrews) is not a racist symbol.
H.K. Edgerton has said that if you live in the South this (the Confederate flag) is your symbol. He is right, and I am proud to call him my friend."
Below is the response I got from Mr. Sullivan:
"Clint: I think you’ve covered this material in your July 5, 2006 op-ed column “Blacks, American Indians, Jews fought for Confederacy” and your Nov. 11, 2006, letter “Students defend their heritage.”
Really? Yep it’s true, that I wrote those articles, which were published six months apart. Both touched on similar subjects,but were different. The latest submission focused solely on Mr. Edgerton and his accomplishments. It was written because I think that he too should be honored during Black History Month. But apparently Mr. Sullivan doesn’t think that Mr. Edgerton qualifies.
I pointed this out, along with the fact that Mr. Sullivan has proven himself a Grade "A" hypocrite, in my response:
"Mr. Sullivan Sir,
I touched on the subject of minorities in the Confederacy and Students standing up for their heritage , two times in 2006, six months between the publication of both stories. Sir, forgive me but I think I deserve a better explanation for you not wanting to publish an Op-Ed of mine about a Black Confederate Heritage Activist and Civil Rights Leader named H.K. Edgerton, then what you have given me here.
Especially, since in the month of January, 2007 alone your paper carried 12 stories about, or related to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:
MLK speaker names apathy as biggest problem (Local News ~ 01/1
Women’s efforts in civil rights often overlooked, Evers-Williams says (Local News ~ 01/18
King’s work continues (Local News ~ 01/16/07)
Nation marks first King holiday since death of civil rights leader’s widow (National News ~ 01/16/07)
Rarely seen King papers to be displayed (National News ~ 01/15/07)
An abiding faith (Op/Ed Columns ~ 01/15/07)
MLK Jr. Day (Editorials ~ 01/15/07)
Juror recalls trial of Medgar Evers’ murderer (Local News ~ 01/14/07)
Sen. Bond to speak at King luncheon (Local News ~ 01/12/07)
Dinners, other events to mark King legacy (Local News ~ 01/10/07)
Area King celebrations start Thursday (Local News ~ 01/10/07)
Events planned to celebrate King’s birthday (Local News ~ 01/07/07)
Why is Mr. Edgerton not afforded the same respect as other civil rights leaders during black history month? Or why am I not allowed to pay my respect to him as a black leader that I look up to?
I ask you to please reconsider my request to have my Op-Ed about Mr. Edgerton published,
Clint E. Lacy
Am I the only one who sees the hypocricy in Mr. Sullivans response? In my opinion his email comes across as telling me three things.
1. He considers Mr. Edgerton as an "Uncle Tom".
2. He considers Mr. Edgerton as the wrong kind of Black History
3. He considers a Pro-South Black Civil Rights leader as too controversial.
If Black History Month is to be celebrated, then all of those who have made a significant contribution to Black History should be given equal treatment. But apparently none of this matters down in "Uncle Joe’s Cabin"
Clint, Missouri Bushwhacker
For questions or comments, write me at: email@example.com