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An Open Letter To the Editor of Southern Heritage News (A Response to the Joe Jackson Letter)

Confederate Flag Still a Sensitive Issue

In the Southern Heritage News, in a letter to the Editor, a Mr.. Joe Jackson begins his diatribe about circumventing tanks, floats, floats and people assembling for the Veterans Day event in down town Nashville on the Saturday morning of November 11, 2006. He proclaimed that as he made his way, that he took notice of two men dressed in Confederate uniforms, and carrying very large Confederate Flags. As I read, I had so hoped that one of the men he had seen was me; a loyal Black Confederate, just like his grandpa would have been standing on this corner, if he was truly Southern.

Mr..Jackson went on to say that as these individuals proceeded along the sidewalk, how they passed an African American man with a young boy, who appeared to be his son, that his first thought was, "I wonder what ideas might be stirred in the African American passersby right now ? I so wished that Mr.. Jackson had stayed for the parade; he might have witnessed me hugging that same mans son, and shaking his hand as I strolled by dressed out in my Confederate Gray, carrying my big Confederate Battle Flag, or the many other truly Southern Black, White and Red folks that I would hug on this day. Had he stayed for the parade, he might have caught a glimpse at the many Black folks he were in a festive mood with my little brother as he marched along with this Southern entourage, his very own African drum decked out in the flags of his ancestors for the Southland of America. I know just what those Southern Black folks were thinking; now this is more like the truth.

Mr.. Jackson ended by saying that it is time we in the South increase our Sensitivity. The irony is that as Terry Lee, myself and three young White men headed back to where we were parked after the parade , we would be stopped by a young man who sounds a lot like Mr.. Jackson. First he was pretty bold to stop his car and come right among us and spit out his hatred dialogue, demand to know just what did we think we were doing strutting with those evil flags in his presence, and just how sensitive about it he was. Terry Lee the calmest among us at this time asked him to settle down and we would be glad to answer his question civilly. I having heard this newspaper quote and ploy to used discourage and squelch student activities to defend their limited 1st Amendment Rights to display or wear Southern symbols, especially the Christian Cross of St. Andrews, asked him, where are you from ? He promptly replied that he was from Illinois . We all gave him a history lesson that he shall never forget. As we began to part I put my arms around him, told him that I loved him, and that none of these men meant him harm. I wonder just what this young Black Yankee must have thought when those Southern White men told him the same. I wave at the men both Black and White who looked on from the window of Jim Reed Chevrolet , and thanked them for the hospitality they had shown to us.

I would later on be presented with the State of Kentucky's highest honor, a Commission as Kentucky Colonel by my Compatriot and brother, Bazz Childress, who drove all the way from Kentucky with his beautiful wife to bestow this honor upon me. On this day I had spoke with men of the Colored Troops who would march behind us , and was gratified with their message of support of my stand in defense of my homeland, the Southland of America. If I and the men who stood with me before this young man did not learn anything , it was that one can not assume that because a man looks like me, he is from the South.