Have you ever noticed how a thriving,
pleasant, "normal" life seems to go on in this land, utterly
unnoticed in the newspapers and other "media" that affect
to report on, and indeed mirror, what's going on? "What's going
on," according to them, far from normality, is an endless round
of mayhem and political crisis, in an atmosphere of bitter rancor.
On April 9, at Osceola, the Col. John T. Coffee Camp No. 1934 of
the Sons of Confederate Veterans held its annual "Heritage
Dinner," attended by 128 persons from many states.
Scarcely the sort of doings to hog headlines. The dinner was
held in a church auditorium. Following the "Pledge of Allegiance,"
the camp chaplain began the evening with an Invocation, followed
in turn by "the Salute to the Confederate Flag" and
a rousing "Dixie." If there'd been any "media"
types present, and they hadn't yet begun to ruck their brows and
wonder "What's wrong with this picture?" they soon would
The speaker and guest of honor was a black man, H.K. Edgerton.
He began his presentation with a long quote that contradicted
and refuted all we incessantly hear.
Slaves in the Old South weren't universally abused and discontented,
he said. Often masters and slaves liked and respected each other.
More than anything else, it was a human relationship.
Why did he belong to the Sons of Confederate Veterans? Why had
he made something of a name for himself as a defender of the Confederate
Battle Flag? Because, was Edgerton's answer, he was proud of his
Confederate soldier ancestor, not to say bone-tired of the politically-correct
denial that there were black Confederates.
Why had his ancestor fought for the Confederacy? For the same
reason Southern whites fought for it: Because his homeland was
being invaded! Whether slave or free, like the nine out of 10
whites who owned no slaves, the South was his country too.
Edgerton became a national figure by walking from his hometown,
Asheville, N.C., to Austin, Texas, carrying the Confederate Battle
All along the way, he said, ordinary folks received him with
kindness and understanding, with unspoken respect for his willingness
to stand up for his beliefs (just as did the Osceola people and
SCV members he'd met that weekend, he added). Only newspeople,
and the occasional academic, recoiled in scandalized incomprehension,
At the University of Texas, he was stopped by police and asked
what was he up to? He was on his way to visit the campus monuments
to Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis, and other Confederates, he explained.
"Not with that flag, you're not!" he was told. Standing
his ground, he was arrested and charged with trespass. Police
cars deployed, as in anticipation of trouble.
So much for the Constitutionally enshrined right of free speech
in these politically-correct United States, above all in its would-be
very citadels of enlightenment.
Hardly a month ago, pupils in a Missouri classroom were assigned
each to write an essay on a black American of their choice, in
observance of Black History Month.
Young Justin Michael Williams chose H.K. Edgerton, whose curriculum
vitae includes not just "Confederate heritage activist"
but: Student regent at the University of Minnesota; chairman,
board of directors, Edgerton and Edgerton Office Products; resident
futurist intern, Green Giant Co.; spokesman for trucking and construction
companies; special projects consultant for energy and development
projects; chairman, board of advisors, Southern Legal Resource
Center Inc.; chairman, Heritage Preservation Association; etc.,
Ideal, right? Wrong! Justin was hauled before the school's Holy
Inquisition and advised to choose again (like, say, 0.J. Simpson,
Michael Jackson, or Kobe Bryant?)
But Justin, alas, like H.K., has principles, and stuck to them.
So, his essay was rejected and, in the old Inquisition tradition,
burned. Lucky for him, they no longer burn the writers too. He
was merely suspended. That's what principles get you in school
Why the fuss? Well, much as radical feminists rejected conservative
Jeanne Kirkpatrick because "She's not a woman," so self-appointed
black leaders and their white toadies reject the well-pigmented
H.K. Edgerton because "He's not a black." A "woman,"
you see, is someone with a feminist axe to grind, a hermaphrodite
knee-jerk, arch-liberal. Likewise, a "black" is a dark-complected
Most "rights" groups, right and left, rolled over at
the above outrageous nonsense. It took, not the ACLU, but the
Col. John T. Coffee Camp of the SCV to get young Justin Michael
Williams good lawyers and high hopes of winning his "civil
Justin was present, alongside H.K. Edgerton, at the April 9 Heritage
He wore a full-dress Confederate uniform and carried a huge "stainless
banner," as the Confederacy's "third national"
flag is called: a white field with the 13-starred St. Andrew's
Cross (the "Battle Flag") in the union. Activities absolutely
forbidden at his school, where they might "offend somebody."
Flaunting an al-Qaida banner, or wearing a headrag, that would
be okay. The ACLU would rush to your defense, your right to express
your solidarity with the country's enemies.
But not the Confederate flag. That's a no-no, H.K. Edgerton believes,
just because it's a cross. The people eager to get rid of Confederate
symbols are the same ones equally eager to get rid of Christian
Can't have the public schools contributing to the dangerous fallacy
that this is, at least in some attenuated sense, a Christian country.
A crackpot atheist somewhere, or a just-arrived Moslem or Satanist,
might get his little feelings hurt.
In a time and a climate in which much is made of "rights,"
black H.K. Edgerton believes he has a right to his heritage, which
includes the memory of his Confederate grandsire, his valor and
devotion. A right to have that heritage preserved and respected.
H.K. Edgerton has defied, and will defy, ridicule and death-threats
in his pursuit of that belief.
White Justin Michael Williams believes just the same. That steadfastness
to convictions is more important than "going along, getting
along" with whatever fashionable idiocy chances to reign
in the schools or in society. Than selling yourself for an "A"
The Sons of Confederate Veterans believe in the H.K. Edgertons
and the Justin Michael Williamses. Anyone present at the April
9 Heritage Dinner would have been heartened that perhaps the world
hasn't gone quite as mad as the daily news would lead us to believe.