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March Across Dixie
October 13, 2002-January 27,2003

What would possess a Black man, who served in the United States of America during the Vietnam War, and who presided over the local branch of the NAACP, to pick up a Confederate Battle Flag and march 1600 miles across Dixie? Some people just want to think I’m crazy. Some people know I’m not crazy, but they want you to think I am crazy, so that you will just dismiss me as a crank. They don’t want you to know what I know or the find out way I am so passionate for everyone to find out about the true history of the South.

As Chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Southern Legal Resource Center (a civil rights, non-profit law firm that specializes in cases involving violations against Southern heritage and Confederate symbols) and as one of it s Directors, I have been very active in encouraging school children to take pride in their heritage and symbols. I have spoken to Southern heritage group all over the Southland of America. I have tried to influence these Southern babies to proudly wear their Dixie Outfitters apparel and to fly or display the Christian Cross of St. Andrew on the Confederate Battle Flag.

Unfortunately, it is hard to be a Southerner these days in an increasingly anti-Southern and intolerant society. The SLRC monitors anti-Confederate incidents, called heritage violations. The schools seem to be the worst violators and the abuses have been growing.

The more I have seen the incidents of intolerance against Confederate symbols grow, the more concerned I have become about our ability to help these babies who may get in trouble for a simple expression of pride for their heritage. It blows my mind how in America, where everyone is encouraged to celebrate their diversity, Southerners are supposed to be ashamed of their diversity.

I got to thinking about our responsibility to these babies. I have found it hard to sleep at night, knowing that when they came to us for help, we would not have the financial ability to help them.

Well, you know, God will come and shake you as you lay there in your room, heart burdened, looking for a way to help. It came to me during that shaking to march across Dixie and ask my whole Southern family to make pledges for each mile marched.

Traveling on foot accompanied by my little brother, Terry Lee Edgerton, who would make a video documentary of the journey, we left Asheville carrying the Confederate flag, led by a strong sense of ancestral duty and loyalty to our Southern Land; while armed with the knowledge that she had been and continues to be wronged by the very nation she helped build.

Twenty miles per day (some times more) six days per week, day after day among our Southern family; Terry Lee photographed or filmed them, capturing their every thought.
What began as a fund raising project and cultural awakening campaign quickly took on the flavor of a family reunion. Folks of all hues and views came out to greet us. They brought contributions, food, drink, tales of valor and legends of bravery passed down through their families, Blacks and White. Most importantly, they gave us their prayers and wished us Godspeed.

It is said that a picture tells a thousand words. We took pictures and the visual documentation of this journey speaks volumes. It tells a different story that what you are usually told by the media. I did not always understand how the War Between the State fit in to the Black experience in America. But since my association with the Southern Legal Resource Center, I have come to have a great deal of understanding about how the results of that war continue to have a fundamental effect on our culture.

I am convinced that we must come to terms with and learn from that past. White Southerners have a legacy of heroism form the War that should not be buried. Black Southerners earned a place of dignity during the War and they have a legacy of honor that they need to reclaim. I found in my journey that while these lessons may be lost upon the cities of the New South, the path to peace and racial reconciliation still lies along the dusty back roads of Dixie.

H.K. Edgerton