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H. K.'s Letter to Bush

November 5, 2004

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Earlier this week the South, voting as a solid bloc for the first time in decades, helped you achieve a second term in office. Now I am writing to request a meeting with you to discuss ways of achieving cultural justice for millions of these same Southerners, who find themselves the victims of the only prejudice and discrimination still allowed in America.

Mr. President, I am a black man, the descendent of slaves. I am a former NAACP officer. Yet I am also Chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Southern Legal Resource Center, an organization that advocates for Southerners’ civil rights. And in 2002 I carried a Confederate flag and marched 1,606 miles from Pack Square in Asheville, North Carolina, to the Texas Supreme Court Building in Austin, where I stood to demand the replacement of two Confederate plaques that had been removed. (I believe you may recall the case.) All along my march to Austin I was greeted by an astounding outpouring of love and support from blacks and whites alike, ordinary Southerners who share a common heritage.

These people, my Southern family, hunger and thirst after righteousness. They have been fired from their jobs, had their reputations ruined and their lives disrupted, been ridiculed, libeled, slandered, injured and even killed for trying to express their pride in who they are and for trying to tell the truth in the face of the tyranny known as “political correctness.” Most deplorably, my people see their children force-fed politically correct lies in the public schools, where they are bullied and intimidated if they wear clothing depicting a flag that former President Carter called “a legitimate American icon”. Dr. Eugene Genovese, a northern-born, Harvard-educated scholar, has said, “We are witnessing a cultural and political atrocity – an increasingly successful campaign by the media and an academic elite to strip young white southerners, and arguably black southerners as well, of their heritage, and, therefore, their identity. They are being taught to forget their forebears or to remember them with shame.”

In short, there are a lot of Americans here in the South who are having some very un-American things done to them. This deeply offends the American sense of justice and freedom that was instilled in me from birth. I have carried my flag – the cross of the apostle Andrew – down enough American roads to know that nearly all Americans, as individual children of God, instinctively respect and honor each other’s history and heritage. The cultural holocaust that is ruining the American South is driven by self-serving special interest groups, media and politicians. That is why I am appealing to you; you are, after all, the duly elected leader of all Americans.

Mr. President, your second administration can either mark the completion of the destruction of my people’s culture or the beginning of its rescue. The implications of this matter reach into the furthest corners of your domestic policy. Will you sit down with me to explore ways to begin righting this pervasive and poisonous wrong? Thank you for your attention, sir. I hope to have the honor of hearing from you soon.

Yours faithfully,

H. K. Edgerton