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Press Conference Message - Lexington, Kentucky
Approximately two weeks ago, I would travel to Lexington, Kentucky
where I was to deliver a speech to the students at Allen Central
High School. However, after arriving there I was informed by the
press at a press conference held across from the newspaper office
of the Lexington Herald that I had been banned from delivering said
speech by Floyd County School Superintendent Fanning. Since that
time, a Mr. Zimmerman, one of the reporters present from one of
the local television stations there has promoted an unscrupulous
and vastly distorted accounting of my message. I find his statements
preposterous because he held me there at the site long after the
other reporters had gone. It was evident to everyone present that
this angry young man was looking for an angle to discredit my message.
The following is the message that I delivered at that conference,
and would have to the students at Allen Central, had I been allowed:
He is your friend who pushes you nearer to God. As my great,
great grandmother Hattie stood on those shores of West Africa,
her eyes fixed upon those New England built boats from Rhode Island,
and Massachusetts, with the Stars and Stripes flying; trembling
with memories of the night before, when the African King Gelelesent
his men into her village, took her, and her baby brother from
their family, cracked open his head, drank his blood from his
skull, ate his right arm, and told those white men who placed
her aboard that ship with the Stars and Stripes flying; it was
the King's fetish to do so ; I am so very glad that God in his
infinite wisdom would guide that ship to the Honorable T.R. Edgerton
family to Rutherfordton county, North Carolina, in the Southland
of America ; a place in lieu of the economic institution of slavery,
and the shackles of slavery that would bound her body. Nevertheless,
she and the men and women of her country were on a journey of
the greatest missionary of God; she was going to a place where
she would learn of Jesus Christ, and the Judea/ Christian principles
that would be taught to her by men like the Honorable Reverend
R.L. Dabney of Prince Edward County, Virginia, and the Honorable
General Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson, who felt powerless to change
her human condition, and like many
Southerners braved the terrors of public opinion, and taught their
slaves to read the scriptures.
It was the modus operandi of love taught by these men from that
Christian Bible that the man called Master, and the other called
Slave found for each other in the Southland that kept them side
by side in possibly the greatest conflict to ever face this nation,
and all the evils perpetrated by that man who was to be their
conqueror to push them apart during the so called period of Reconstruction,
and to this very day.
My message will be brief, but I hope you will remember my words.
I speak today on behalf of the two and one half million Southern
Bondsmen, Bondwomen who from 1861 to 1865 loyally served and supported
the Confederate cause, in however humble and noble a capacity.
When cotton was needed to finance a long war, it was Black hands
as that picked it, and prepared it for export to Europe. When
foodstuffs were needed to feed the embattled army armies and a
beleaguered Southern civilian population, it was Black hands working
with White hands that tilled the soil to grow needed crops to
fend off starvation. Slave and Freeman alike gave his last penny
to support the Confederate Cause. It was trusted Black hands left
on the Plantation to guard the Mistress and her children from
the hand of the invader. It was skilled Black labor that worked
in the new Southern factories making the implements of war that
kept Southern armies in the field for four years. Across the South
in every town, city and Plantation, a trained cadre of Black laborers
and craftsmen worked to keep Southern armies supplied with all
the implements of war. In the Confederate navy some Black men
mustered in as sailors on Confederate naval vessels, manned the
rigging, manned the guns, and stoked the fireboxes and even served
Without the untiring sweat of Black men, the Confederate army
would have quickly ground to a halt. Black men served as Teamsters,
Cooks, Blacksmiths, Farriers, Laborers, Servants, and in many
cases as the Close Friend of the White man he accompanied. Many
of these Black Auxiliaries were to prove their worth in combat,
even though by law they could not be compelled to fight, and would
not be legally allow to enlist as soldiers until the last days
of the war.
Most importantly was the bond of love and affection between Black,
and White that transcended the economic institution of slavery,
and is so incomprehensible to people up North.
In cases too numerous to mention, boyhood friends, Black and
White, went off to war together, sharing together the hardships
of Camp life, the camaraderie of army life, the stress of campaigning,
the excitement of battle, the agony of the hospital, and the painful
separation of death.
Stories abound of faithful Black friends and servants seeing
to the comfort of their White friends last moments on earth, and
with tearful countenance and broken hearts, begin the sometimes
difficult and arduous task of obtaining proper burial for his
friend, and then bringing the painful news back home.
Only love can explain such a bond, fear of the lash cannot explain
it, and our Northern friends dismiss it as so many fairy tales.
These Northerners miss a very important point. We are Southerners
too. By 1861 we had worked with these White Southerners for two
centuries. South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia,
Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri,
or Texas was our home. The average Black Confederate understood
his duty as God gave him the light to perform it. He performed
his duty without expectation of reward, or promise of freedom,
but he knew that if he worked and struggled, and fought hard for
the Confederate Cause as a loyal subject; the White people of
the South would do right by him.
When Sherman marched to the sea, he destroyed Black homes as
well as White. stole foodstuffs that would keep Black children
from starving as well as White; his soldiers raped and killed
Black women, and forced loyal Black men to volunteer for their
army at bayonet point, or more commonly to act as laborers so
that White Yankees could sit on their backside.
Sure, many Blacks voluntarily went over to the Union army, hut
history will never record how many of them sincerely regretted
their decision later, while they served as slaves for Union officers,
or their wives were forced to be prostitutes for Union enlisted
Then came 1865. the collapse of the Confederacy, so-called freedom
for the Slave, and the beginning of 135 years and counting of
deferred promises to American Blacks under the Stars and Stripes.
The South was ready to do right by their former slaves. They
accepted the fact of freedom, and were prepared to make provision
for the new freedman within the limits of an impoverished and
devastated South. However, even though the Southern armies had
surrendered t, the North had not finished their conquest. They
began a deliberate policy of poisoning the minds of the former
slaves against their former Masters. The bonds of love and affection
were severely tried, and in many cases sundered. The North spread
anarchy and hatred through their secret societies called the Union
or Loyal Leagues. By misrule of the Carpetbag
Governments, they spread corruption across the defeated South.
They continued their deliberate economic boycott of the South
until the mid 20th century. There was no Marshall Plan for Dixie.
This Northern policy of divide and conquer, coupled with the economic
strangulation of the South go a long way towards explaining much
of the rancor and hatred of Black/White relations in the South.
Unfortunately most Americans, Black or White, are completely ignorant
of this Southern history.
February is Black History Month- There were indeed Black Confederates
who fought in the South's armies, side by side with their White
compatriots ( unlike in segregated Northern armies with half their
counterparts pay, while facing suicide missions like the Battle
of the Craters, and Denzel's Glory ) and who attended veterans
meetings for many decades side by side with their fellow warriors.
This fact is suppressed because it doesn't suit the purposes of
the race huckster game. But the South has an historical memory
that won't be squelched by modern liars, and poverty pimps out
for political gain. As to political gain: one such race huckster
from Louisville recently involved himself in a manufactured story
involving Floyd County's Allen Central High School's use of the
Confederate Battle flag and a Southern soldier as their school
symbols, claiming such is "offensive". That's an old
and tired game that damages everyone, and deprives all of us of
a part of America's history, and liberty, in that it silences
differing opinions about that history in order not to be offensive
or be branded a racist. At the Southern Legal Resource Center,
we call this perpetuating a fraud, punishable by law.
Across the street is one of the newspapers which participated
in this game. They ran an AP wire story concerning the above written
by Iranian born Samara Jafaari, that in almost every particular
turned out to be false. When the Kentucky Division of the Sons
of Confederate Veterans issued a press release pointing out these
falsehoods a week ago or so, there has been only deafening silence
from the Herald; and worst of all a one Ned Pillersdorf, a New
York transplant now lawyering in Prestonburg, Kentucky told one
of the biggest lies in this whole affair. Just maybe the Kentucky
Bar should send him a letter of disbarment like
a prosecutor in my home state of North Carolina in the Duke University
La Crosse case.
I would continue on to identify Black men of Kentucky who had
gone off to the Great War with their masters, and who had distinguished
themselves in the service of the Confederate States of America.
This report comes right from as my mom use to say; the horses
President Southern Heritage 411
Chairman of The Board of Advisors Emeritus of the
Southern Legal Resource Center