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Vigil at the Sylvia Herald / An Encounter

On Friday morning, yesterday, March 17, 2006, I would travel the some 70 miles to Jackson County to the Town of Sylvia, North Carolina which just happens to be a stones throw down the road from Western Carolina University ; the site of the Morris Dees lecture I had attended just two weeks prior.

I had come on this day because I could not allow myself to become despondent about the inability of the local news to inform it's citizenry accurately of the encounter I had with Mr..Dees on that evening of February 28, 2006 at the University. The Sylvia Herald had reported that some black man dressed in a Confederate Uniform had a heated exchange with Mr.. Dees, called him a poverty pimp and left. Joined by the local Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans of the Jackson Rangers Camp and several other Camp members, I would spend some time on the side of the road that leads north to the college and south to the center of down town Sylva where the offices of the Herald are located; chatting and waving to folks passing by, basking in the love being bestowed because here I stood holding our beloved flag. After an hour or so Commander Mike Paris and myself marched the some five minutes down Main Street amidst a great deal of pomp and ceremony as we were greeted by so many folks along the way. We arrived at the offices of the Herald whereupon the Honorable Mike Paris took inside a copy of the Asheville Tribune dated March 9-15, 2006 Vol.10 No.10. In his accounting Mr.. Paris stated :( for I was now standing outside the office with my flag , adorned in my beautiful grey Dixie OutFitter jacket taking pictures with all the people who had now began gathering with questions of why a black man stood flying the Confederate Battle Flag on the sidewalk outside the newspaper office) when prompted by an employee of the paper of the reason for me being there, Mr.. Paris explained to her that on page 9 in the Commentary section of the Tribune was an accurate accounting of the events of the evening in question, and further that on page 8 of this mighty fine newspaper written by the now infamous Mike Scruggs was an article on slavery that the Herald ought to seek permission from the Tribune also to write. In less than one minute after Mr..Paris had exited the office of the Herald, the doors of the Herald opened, a young white lady came out with the article titled in the Commentary section ; HK Edgerton / "Black Southern Patriot "meets "White Southern Poverty Pimp" , with a picture of me in a Confederate Uniform , tore it up in shreds, threw at me on my feet, and proceeded to slam the doors of the Herald. I can't describe the looks on the faces of the people gathered as they witnessed the display of this insult, or the outrage they defined about it happening. A young man who identified himself as a reporter would eventually come out and request to interview me, as another from man his office would pick up the debris left of the shredded paper while Mr.. Paris took pictures of the scene. Reluctantly I told the young man why it was important for the young people, and citizens in this liberal arts college town to ponder why this man who had earned in part his prominence by making fallacious and outrageous statements within the confines of his secured venues, be called out , and yet after delivering a speech only moments before lauding himself and his organization about their programs of teaching tolerance, promoting equity and respect in the classroom and community; yet here he stood, unwilling unable, and sarcastic in his demeanor to answer a simple question on why he had promoted the idea as fact that the League of The South, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans were racist hate organizations. After what I had already experienced here, I ponder how much of the truth will ever be told , and just how many indignities one must bear for just being Southern.