Myths of confederacy debunked by speaker
From: "H.K. Edgerton"
To: "Dewey Barber"
Subject: FW: Myths of confederacy debunked by speaker, Martinsville Bulletin , Friday, April 28, 2006
Date: Tue, 2 May 2006 08:10:05
Myths of confederacy debunked by speaker
By HOLLY KOZELSKY
Bulletin Staff Writer
You might look twice when you pass the Patrick County Courthouse during
Saturday's Confederate Memorial Day observation, because the man in grey
holding the Confederate flag will be black.
And he's there to set things straight.
H.K. Edgerton of Asheville, N.C., is the keynote speaker of the Confederate
Memorial Day observation sponsored by the Wharton-Stuart Camp of the Sons of
Confederate Veterans. The event begins at 1:30 p.m. and will be followed by
an old-fashioned Southern pig pickin'.
Edgerton said that people today don't have any idea why the Civil War was
fought, and they perpetuate the misconceptions that they haven't questioned.
He said that on Saturday he will give his interpretation of the causes and
effects of the Civil War, the role of blacks during that war and "the
cultural genocide that's (now) taking place in the Southern homeland ...
against all things Southern."
In the years leading up to the Civil War, the South was trying to protect
itself from a federal government "that was out of control," he said.
Edgerton said that to understand the causes of the Civil War, one must
understand how the governmental system of that time differed from now. In
the late 19th century, the state governments had much greater control,
rights and powers than they do now, he said. They were nearly free-standing
entities loosely united as the United States.
Chris Washburn, camp commander of the Wharton-Stuart Camp, said "people
can't put it in perspective now. You have to put yourself in their mindset.
First, you were a Virginian, then you were an American. Most Southerners
believed that (the Civil War) was an invasion of their state."
Edgerton said "The South felt like the federal government was intruding
where it had no place to go. Religion was on the table -- how we worshipped
God. As a region, we were quite different from the North."
Other factors that prompted the Southern states to separate from the Union
included the belief that "the federal government had no business with the
kinds of powers it had, the unfair taxes that the Southland of America was
having to pay and the lack of those resources being sent back into the
South," he said.
"The North broke its contracts (with the government), and all the South
wanted to do was go it's own way," he added.
"Slavery was not on the table" as a motive for Lincoln's attack on the
South, he said. Instead, "Lincoln simply knew that the North needed the
South to fund all these industrial complexes -- it couldn't have the South
doing business with Europe."
The institution of slavery was horrible, Edgerton said, but it could not be
eliminated abruptly without throwing the region into ruin and disarray. He
said also that in the 19th century and before, the New England states were
active in the slave trade, and the slave traders' boats were constructed
Blacks played important roles both in the war as well as keeping agriculture
and trade viable in the homeland, Edgerton said.
"You cannot take the flag and use it against me," he said. "Black folks
earned that place of honor. When they talk about Black History Month, people
generally don't talk about black people who played important roles during
the Civil War," he said.
"Nothing is written down here (about the Civil War) that comes even close to
the truth -- it's deplorable to know what the United States has done to its
people," he said. Students today are scrutinizing history's myths and asking
analytical questions, and they deserve to learn the full truths of history,
Edgerton said also that most people don't realize the beneficial role that
the Ku Klux Klan played during the 12 years after the Civil War in
reconstruction of destroyed areas and protection for Southern families and
communities from invading carpetbaggers.
Carpetbagging contines to plague the South, he said.
"Too many Yankees have moved into the South and taken positions" on school
boards and governmental boards "and (are) leading the way for cultural
genocide in the Southland of America," he said. "We welcome them in and the
only thing they do is destroy all things Southern. The black folks don't
want any part of it."
"I certainly do appreciate the Sons of the Confederate Veterans for inviting
me last year and asking me to come back. I hope to see more black faces
there" this time, he said.
Washburn said that the SCV invited Edgerton to speak because he was inspired
by Edgerton's message when he heard him speak at other events.
"He breaks it (history) down to where people can understand it," Washburn
H.K. Edgerton is chairman of the board of advisors emeritus at the Southern
Legal Resource Center, a non-profit group that specializes in courtroom
defenses of Confederate symbols, such as the wearing of the Confederate flag
design at the workplace or at schools.
He is widely recognized for his "Walk Across Dixie for Southern Heritage,"
when he marched 1,300 miles from Asheville to Austin, Texas, in 2002 to
carry a message of "heritage not hate."
April has been Confederate History and Heritage Month since the Patrick
County Board of Supervisors made such a proclamation in 2003, said Washburn.
Confederate Memorial Day was originated by a South Carolina Confederate
widow in 1864 and has been observed in other states since 1865.
The day is about "remembering the Confederate dead and the sacrifices they
made," said Washburn. The Stuart-Hairston Camp of the SCV in Martinsville is
helping the Wharton-Stuart Camp with the event.
After Edgerton speaks on Saturday, historian Tom Perry of Ararat will talk
about the typical Patrick County Civil War soldier and a wreath-laying
ceremony will be held at the Confederate monument.
After the hour-long ceremony, a pig-picking will be held at DeHart Park,
Washburn said. The bluegrass band Marcie Home and Next Step will perform,
and a soldiers' encampment will show how Civil War soldiers lived.