Search Southern Heritage 411

Back to the main articles page     

East Tennessee State University / Professor Andrew Slap

Today August 30, 2006, I would adorn my Confederate uniform and travel once again across the mountains to Johnson City, Tennessee where upon arriving, I would park in the parking lot of my favorite restaurant on Roan Street; Dixie Barbecue, and then proceed the some ten miles up Roan heading to East Tennessee State University. As I near the location of the Ramada Inn, a car would pull into one of their spaces near the street, and the driver would beckon to me. He asked why on this day would I be marching up Roan carrying the Confederate Naval Jack ? I told him that I was on my way to register a formal complaint with Dr.Colin Baxter, the History Department Chair, against Professor Andrew Slap; who had publicly humiliated a young Black man in his history class when the young man was prompted to answer what the Confederate Battle Flag meant to him. The gentleman identified himself as Philip, and said that he was a community activist, and had on many occasions spoke to the students at the university, and was very sympathetic to my plight. He insisted on writing his telephone numbers down on a piece of paper, and exclaimed that if I had any problems and needed the communities help, he would be forth coming with it. Little did he know, that while he was making this proclamation, a young white lady had existed the Ramada, and promptly informed us that her boss had sent her forth to tell us in no uncertain terms to get from in front of the hotel . I tried to explain to her that the young man had only asked for my reason for walking by, and that I really had no intentions of being there but a second, and that the side walk was a public easement from which I had a great deal of latitude to express my first amendment rights. She replied that she didn't want to hear that, and if I did not leave, she would call the police, and I better git. Well, the gentleman promptly pulled off, but it don't set well with me to be told to get, especially carrying my flag, and I told her that while I had not intended on being there, now I wasn't going any place, and if she was going to call the police, I was going to be there when they arrived, or whenever I decided to leave.

After standing there some forty minutes waving and taking pictures from the passer by's, two Johnson City sheriff deputies would arrive and began questioning me, and as previously stated I told them what had happened. Just as I was finishing my dissertation several Johnson City police cars would come up, and from one of them would exist one Officer J.W. Honeycutt,a mighty fine police officer that I had come to know and love. Officer Honeycutt called out my name and greeted me with so much honor that the sheriff deputy completed stepped to the side, and I could see his whole demeanor completely change . I again told the men that I really had no intentions of being in front of the hotel, but I wasn't going to be told to get, and I just really wanted to continue on to the University. They informed me that they were going in the hotel and speak to the young lady, so I proceeded on towards the school. God bless these men, especially Officer Honeycutt.

As I came upon 12th and North Roan, I would encounter a young Black boy apparently late for school, and he would asked me , what was I doing with that flag ? I told him that I was carrying it for him, and to trust me with that charge, and he replied, I trust you. I now began to strut. As I headed down W.Walnut, now only several blocks from the school, I would come upon a Black man and woman sitting on a porch; the man would jump straight up and pop a magnificent salute towards me; the lady looked somewhat pleasantly surprised at this show of affection. I continued on to the campus and went straight to Dr. Baxter's office , whereupon his Secretary would inform me that he would not be in until 11:30 am; it was now about 9:15 am. I left my name once more and told her why I had come, and promised that I would return at the stated hour. I promptly stepped outside to the front of the history building and began answering the many questions of the students faculty and staff who in numbers who approach me on this day. Several minutes later, Dr. Baxter's Secretary would come out to inform me that the Doctor would not return until 1:30 PM. Not to be deterred, I continued taking pictures and relishing in the tremendous ovation that I was now receiving from the many who stopped to convalesce. I am so very proud of all the students, staff, and community people, both Black and White, who on this day would present me with nothing but love and understanding. No matter that once again, I would not get to see Dr.Baxter, for Commander Jim Maddox would come to take me from this place back to Dixie Barbecue, where I would feast upon a meal fit for a King, and plan my strategy for tomorrow; for I would surely come again until I would see Dr. Baxter and ask for a written apology for not only Mr..T.K.Owens, but all the Sons and Daughters on the Confederacy, especially those who like T.K.'s great grand pa just happened to be Black.

I shall always be eternally grateful to the University of East Tennessee for granting me so much latitude in expressing my free speech. Never once has any member of it's staff, students, or parents treated me with anything but dignity as I prowled there campus strutting with the Christian Cross of St. Andrew; my "Confederate Battle Flag."