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SLRC weekend update -- Edgerton funeral special

The Southern Legal Resource Center
WEEKLY UPDATE
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Published electronically every week by the Southern Legal Resource Center
P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC 28711/(828) 669-5189/ slrc@slrc-csa.org
Special Edgerton Funeral Edition

Church lockout mars Edgerton funeral service

ASHEVILLE, NC -- Members of the church where Anna Bell Edgerton's funeral service was to be held turned mourners away and forced the funeral to be moved to a different location less than an hour beforehand.

Members of the funeral party arriving early were greeted by spokespersons for Hill Street Baptist Church who said the church would not allow the service to be held there. Mourners were redirected to the funeral home, a few blocks away, where family members told the overflow crowd to pray for the souls of the Hill Street congregation.

Arrangements to use the church were made shortly after Mrs. Edgerton's death on Monday, Jan. 17th. The Rev. Keith Ogden, pastor of Hill Street Baptist, was out of town and reports indicated the action was taken independently by members of the church's board of deacons. The church members refused to give a direct answer when asked why they were barring the funeral, which had been widely publicized as having a Confederate theme.

"The ironic thing is that the funeral itself was in no way 'Confederate', said SLRC Chief Trial Counsel and family friend Kirk D. Lyons. "It was a lovely, regular family service that happened to be attended by members of her Confederate community and the uniformed reenactors and others who were to take part in the procession to the cemetery afterwards." I hope they weren’t upset because Mrs. Edgerton had so many of her white family attending.”

Following the funeral, mourners returned to the parking lot of Hill Street School, adjacent to Hill Street Baptist, where Mrs. Edgerton's remains, in a polished poplar casket topped with a pall of white and red flowers, was loaded onto a horse drawn wagon for the procession to Riverside Cemetery (see below).

Solemn procession carries Mrs. Edgerton home

If Anna Belle Edgerton's funeral began under a cloud, it didn't end that way.

As her casket was being placed aboard a wagon behind a team of matched gray horses, a bright winter sun came out and continued to shine as her procession -- piper, color guard, wagon, pallbearers and mourners black and white alike, filed through the streets of Asheville. Traffic was halted and pedestrians, many with cameras, lined the sidewalk

As the procession turned into the street leading to the cemetery, a woman on the sidewalk called, "Y'all take your mama home, H.K.!" Edgerton, marching beside the piper and carrying an Army of Northern Virginia battle flag, called back, "Yes ma'am, we are."

At the gravesite, Terry Lee Edgerton told mourners, "Look at these people carrying these flags and wearing these uniforms. They are here out of love and respect. These are my friends and family and they are yours too." Several in the crowd said, "Amen!"

A Confderate flag carried by H.K. on his historic March Across Dixie and inscribed with the names of all the funeral participants, was interred with Mrs. Edgerton.

Fox News reported:

“The peaceful procession was not greeted warmly by many on lookers. Two African American mourners said they didn't think a confederate flag had any place there.”

This is an out and out lie. The funeral procession went right through Mrs. Edgerton’s old neighborhood. Many were there on the sidewalks to take pictures and show support. Save for a few Yankees in traffic who gave dull stares, there was not a single negative comment or gesture in evidence. As for two black mourner’s saying the flag was “inappropriate,” – IF TRUE – their remarks were completely out of sync with the entire Edgerton clan, who affirmed unanimously that the Battle flag had every place in their family and at their Mother’s funeral.

Condolences pour in from across Confederation

The death of a fine Southern lady like Annabelle Edgerton is a tragedy for all Southerners. But we know that she must be sitting with the Good Lord now, smiling down on her son H. K., and his brothers and sisters who are trying to do so much to preserve Southern history and heritage. Our tears are mixed with those of the Edgerton family and I extend my sincere condolences to the entire Edgerton family. May God keep you in the palm of his hand and comfort you in your time of grief.

Denne A. Sweeney
Commander-in-Chief
Sons of Confederate Veterans
cic@scv.org


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January 21, 2005

It is with much sadness that we must acknowledge the passing of Mrs. Anna B. Edgerton. To the members of her family we wish comfort and grace in this trying period and pass on to them the heartfelt sympathy of the North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Warmest Regards:

Bruce W. Tyson Commander, North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans


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To the Edgerton Family:

I want to extend my hearfelt sympathy during this time of sorrow. It is with deepest regret that I am unable to attend the funeral of your mother due to an engagement in Savannah, Georgia. As the Bible teaches us to be absent in the body is to be in the presence of the Lord, I know Mrs. Edgerton has crossed over the river and is now resting under the shade of the tree.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of sorrow. Please accept my deepest sympathy,

Ron Wilson
Immediate Past Commander in Chief, Sons of Confederate Veterans


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May God in his infinite mercy bless, keep and console the Edgerton Family in their hour of grief. You have the sympathy and support of the entire Army of Northern Virginia.

God Bless you

Henry Kidd
Commander, Army of Northern Virginia, SCV


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Remarks of Kirk D.,Lyons at Mrs. Anna Bell Edgerton Funeral, January 22, 2005

IT IS AN HONOR I DO NOT DESERVE TO BE ALLOWED TO SAY A FEW WORDS REGARDING MRS. ANNA BELL EDGERTON

I HAVE MET MRS. EDGERTON ON ONLY A FEW OCCASSIOINS, TALKED WITH HER ON THE PHONE NUMEROUS TIMES. BUT HAVE COME TO APPRECIATE THE INCREDIBLE FAMILY THAT HER AND HER HUSBAND RAISED TO ADULTHOOD

GATHERED HERE TODAY AT THE TABLE OF BROTHERHOOD ARE THE DESCENDANTS OF SLAVES

AND THE DESCENDANTS OF SLAVE OWNERS

MRS. EDGERTON’s BLACK FAMILY IS HERE

MRS EDGERTON’S WHITE FAMILY IS HERE

MRS. EDGERTON”S FAMILY IS HERE

WE ARE HERE, TOGETHER, AS BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO MOURN THE PASSING OF A GREAT LADY

BUT WE , the DESCENDANTS OF SLAVES AND THE DESCENDANT OF SLAVE OWNERS HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER FOR YEARS – IN LARGE PART DUE TO THE CHRISTIAN WITNESS OF MRS EDGERTON

MRS EDGERTONS WITNESS WAS A CHRISTIAN WITNESS. A WITNESS OF LOVE AND TOLERATION, OF PRIDE IN FAMILY, AND OF PRIDE IN THE SOUTH , AND LOVE OF THE CHRISTIAN CROSS OF ST ANDREW THAT SHE INSTILLED IN HER CHILDREN AT AN EARLY AGE.

AND THE FRUIT OF THAT WORK WE SEE HERE TODAY AND WILL CONTINUE TO SEE AS HER CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN PUBLICLY EXHIBIT A LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING OF SOUTHERN SYMBOLS AND THE SOUTH THAT WILL TRULY BRING CLOSURE TO THE VEXING RACE PROBLEMS OF THIS COUNTRY. A PROBLEM , THE BLAME FOR WHICH HAS BEEN EXCLUSIVELY BLAMED ON THE SOUTH FOR GENERATIONS. MRS. EDGERTON DID NOT LAY THE BLAME THERE. SHE LAID IT WHERE IT BELONGED, ON THE SINFUL HEARTS OF MEN, BLACK & WHITE, NORTH AND SOUTH – AND THE SOLUTION WAS LOVE, TOLERANCE, UNDERSTANDING, ACCEPTANCE AND ESPECIALLY THE SAVING GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST – HER LORD & MASTER.

MRS. EDGERTON WAS A RARE WOMAN, A GENTLE SOUTHERN FLOWER, WE WILL NOT SEE HER LIKE AGAIN IN THIS LIFETIME