Black Confederate says he is marching for heritage
By Ray Chandler
OCONEE COUNTY — It’s a sight that elicits a second glance, maybe a third. A black man marching along the S.C. 28 toward Walhalla dressed in Confederate butternut, carrying a Confederate battle flag.
To H.K. Edgerton, however, it’s a march for truth in history as critical as any march for civil rights. Mr. Edgerton’s march Thursday carried him to Oconee County.
When it comes to the role of blacks in the Confederacy, Mr. Edgerton is less than happy about the story.
“This flag has nothing to do with hate,” Mr. Edgerton said of the starred red, white and blue St. Andrew’s Cross battle flag he carried. “It’s the flag of Southern heritage, black and white.”
Edgerton is reprising his 2002 “March Through Dixie,” which took him from his home in Asheville, N.C., to Austin Texas. He also appears in full Confederate uniform, carrying the stars and bars, at parades and protests all across the South, which is odd since he is not descended from a black Confederate soldier.
This “black Neo-Confederate” thing looks too much like a Jewish Nazi to me, but what do I know? Perhaps its best to hear from the man himself, as interviewed by the Southern Poverty Law Center:
• Before the slaves were freed, “Black folks and white folks were family,” he said. “We did all kinds of things together here. White people and slaves saw each other on the streets and they tipped their hats to each other … and asked each other about their families.”
• “I don’t see [the Ku Klux Klan] as terrorists. I see them as — I hate to use the word ‘vigilante,’ but vigilante sometimes ain’t as bad as you think. When your government fails you and fails to protect you, you have to turn somewhere.”
• “It wasn’t so much about [then-Alabama Gov.] George Wallace going to the schoolhouse doors, saying, ‘No, you can’t integrate.’ The thought in his mind was, ‘No, you can’t tell me to integrate. Let us deal with this, and we’re gonna deal with it.’”
• The KKK was “just protecting the people — all of the people, black and white. Blacks wanted to be a part of that.”
Okay, maybe that didn’t explain things any better.
Earlier this year it looked like Edgerton might be on the outs with the neo-Confederates, after he was accused of stealing by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Edgerton had folded his flag and said he was finished with "the movement." But now, he says there was " “never” was any dissension." Okie dokie.
This is all very strange to me. For the record, despite articulating his point pretty clumsily, I think Fred Thompson has it right on the whole Confederate flag thing:
“I know that everybody who hangs the flag up in their room like that is not racist. I also know that for a great many Americans, it’s a symbol of racism.
“ ... As far as a public place is concerned, I am glad that people have made the decision not to display it as a prominent flag, symbolic of something, at a state capitol.
“As a part of a group of flags or something of that nature, you know, honoring various service people at different times in different parts of the country, I think that’s different.
“But, as a nation, we don’t need to go out of our way to be bringing up things that to certain people in our country that’s bad for them.”
This position, that we shouldn’t go out of our way to offend and alienate a huge chunk of the population, got Thompson labeled a "scalawag and carpetbagger" by Don Gordon of, you guessed it, the Sons of Confederate Veterans. And they've got their very own black man to make the argument that the Confederate flag is not racist and Fred Thompson and the rest of the country are just plain wrong.
Neat how that works.