CITY OF FLORENCE RETRACTS LOGO BAN;
SCV WILL MARCH IN PARADE
From: "Allison Schaum"

FLORENCE, SC — City officials in charge of the Pee Dee Patriotic Parade in Flornce have lifted their previously announced ban on Confederate symbols that would have prevented a contingent of Sons of Confederate Veterans members from taking part.

Florence City Attorney Jim Peterson notified SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk Lyons after business hours on Friday that the SCV members will be "most welcome" and that they may carry banners displaying their unit names and the SCV logo, which contains the Confederate battle flag.

The city’s action came within hours after the SLRC told parade organizers and the city attorney’s office that the logo ban was unconstitutional and the SCV members were prepared to mount a lawsuit against the city if they were not allowed to march.

"We are very gratified that the city reconsidered its position," said SLRC director Roger McCredie. "This is a good example of how these matters can often be settled in an amicable manner."

Black southern heritage activist H. K. Edgerton, who is also Chairman of the SLRC’s Board of Advisors, was on his way to Florence to show solidarity with the SCV. He announced that he will still attend the parade and will be stationed at the reviewing stand.

BLACK SOUTHERN HERITAGE ACTIVIST TO ATTEND FLORENCE PARADE

BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC — H. K. Edgerton, former NAACP officer turned Southern heritage activist, announced Friday he will adjust his speaking schedule to attend the Fourth Annual Pee Dee Patriotic Parade in Florence, SC, on Saturday [Sept. 10].

Edgerton said he will be attending in the way that has earned him international notoriety — wearing a Confederate uniform and carrying a Confederate battle flag. He is coming to Florence, he said, to show solidarity with members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who were denied permission to carry Confederate flags in the parade. The City of Florence subsequently also forbade the SCV members from carrying banners displaying their unit name and the SCV logo, which contains the Confederate flag. This, SCV members say, effectively froze them out of the parade.

Edgerton is presently the chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Southern Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit legal organization that specializes in matters involving Southern heritage and culture. Florence SCV Commander Ron York contacted the SLRC on Friday to complain that the city had notified his contingent only today of the restrictions on their appearance in the parade.

SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk D. Lyons called parade official Tom Shearin to remonstrate on the SCV’s behalf and said Shearin "acted paranoid and said I was trying to intimidate him. I told him all I was trying to do was get the city to allow the SCV their right to participate, which they had applied form in good faith," Lyons said. Lyons also tried unsuccessfully to reach Florence City Attorney Jim Peterson.

"We’re just trying to be helpful," said SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie. "The City of Florence is a state actor in this situation and that means denying the SCV their right to carry their flags or their logo is a pretty glaring violation of their First Amendment rights. We’re just looking to prevent a very avoidable lawsuit."

York was told by Shearin that the city was aware of the state actor situation and its possible consequences, but was sticking by its decision anyway, McCredie said.

Edgerton, gained fame in 2003 by marching 1,300 miles from Asheville, NC, to Austin, Texas, carrying a Confederate flag, said he will not be marching in the parade but will station himself along the parade route. "I will be there, flag and all, greeting my Southern family," he said.