One man, a black man, often stands alone at the Confederate Monument in Asheville, North Carolina, sharing with all people – “black, white, red, yellow, brown” – about the true history of the Confederacy. But the truth is not always welcome in this politically correct climate…his struggle to save his heritage, and his message of unity, is often met with disdain and outright hostility.
“It’s a shame that these folks would perpetuate such lies…it’s a piece of poppycock to equate the Confederate flag with a man who walked into a church and shot those people of God.” H.K. Edgerton
Frustration was evident in his voice as he remarked that those people had been “hanging out with Yankees too long” from the idea that they would move to change the people’s thoughts and place their ire on the Confederate flag.
“The federal government cannot be trusted… They have broken so many treaties…and now they’re breaking a treaty with the Southern people… They want to get rid of our flag. It’s wrong.”
Why would a black man be in favor of the Confederate flag? Isn’t that a symbol of racism?
Recent events have made the Southern Cross- the Confederate Battle Flag- “offensive.” But just because people may abuse that flag does not make the flag the culprit. Mr. Edgerton’s personal heritage is fully wrapped up in that flag- his ancestors fought for the Confederacy. He is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Nathan Bedford Forrest
As we previously reported, Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate Officer who had 42 black men that rode with him in the Civil War. A statue commemorating his military skills is set to be removed from Memphis, Tennessee, because he was such a ‘polarizing figure’ from the Civil War.
The erasing of Southern history will do nothing more than pretend that it does not exist. Moving statues, taking down flags, these are symptoms of a society that refuses to learn from the past.
The journey- and legacy of H.K. Edgerton
Mr. Edgerton walked from Asheville, North Carolina to Austin, Texas, a long trek of 1,400 miles. He did so while proudly carrying the Confederate Battle Flag in order to raise awareness of Black heritage in the South.
“I think of all our ancestors who walked 15, 20, 30 miles a day with those heavy guns … some of them didn’t even have shoes on their feet. When they got finished walking, they had to fight all day long.”
H.K. Edgerton is a former President of the Asheville, North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. Now, with great sadness, he told us that he feels that the group has become one of the foremost “hate groups” in America.
He has been called “ignorant”, a “neo-Confederate,” a “carpet-bagger,” and been vilified by many. Supporters have called him “hero” (which he does not like). The viciousness of the attacks against him reveal a concerted effort to shut him down.
The History Channel at one time approached him with the possibility of a reality show on the South, but when he told them of Black participants in Southern military campaigns, they rejected the idea.
“You can’t do that, it’s too controversial,” they told him.
And that is his point- the history that is being perpetrated on the American people is not one of truth. He says the American people have been “duped” by groups whose purpose is to divide, to erase the Southern states from history.
In his parting comments, he told me that he would don his Confederate uniform on Friday to post the Confederate flag once again at the monument. Since one person was beaten there the day before, he told me he hoped no one would beat him up when he went there. We won’t call him a hero, because he does not care for that designation. But we will say that H.K. Edgerton is an uncommon man…a man of action in the face of hatred.
“Better that we should err in action than wholly refuse to perform. The storm is so much better than the calm, as it declares the presence of a living principle. Stagnation is something worse than death…” William Gilmore Simms, (1806-1870)