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Jeannie Babb Taylor / Diamone Mays
On March 6th, 2008, the Walker County Messenger would carry an article written by a one Babb Taylor titled: Confederate flag represents heritage and hate. Nothing that I have ever read or heard against my homeland, our flag, or myself affected me so badly. It is so very hard to describe my gut reaction to the distortions and lies printed. I would be asked by many to respond to the article. I thought of many things; Lincoln’s unconstitutional war, his suspension of the writ, reconstruction (so called the twelve years of Negro rule), the 14th Amendment, the Union League and so much more.
However, then I remembered little Diamone Mays, born April 14th, 1997 in the city of Asheville, North Carolina. As I had prepared to leave for Cross City, Florida in late February for a program in conjunction with the Sons of Confederate Veterans celebration of Black History Month, Diamone who had been studying about the CSA Hunley would ask many questions of me about it and was fascinated about the courage of the men who manned it. Upon arriving in Odum, Georgia, the home of Dixie OutFitters. I would tell it’s CEO, Mr. Dewey Barber about Diamone. Mr. Barber would send Diamone a Dixie Girl shirt with the Hunley , and it’s story on the shirt. On Tuesday, March 4th, 2008, little Diamone would phone me and relay her intentions with her mom’s full approval to wear her shirt to school. This 10 year old baby girl knew full well what the consequences of her actions might be. On Wednesday morning, March 5th, 2008 as Jeanie Babb Taylor sat writing her story, Diamone Mays, a young African American baby girl proud of her heritage, adorned in the Hunley Shirt from Dixie OutFitters, would strut into Oakley elementary school, into her 5th grade class, receiving only a comment of adoration and inquiry from her teacher (MS. Harbinson )as to where she had acquired the shirt. Beaming with so much pride and happy about the comments she had received from her peers; the next day she would wear the Dixie OutFitter shirt carrying my portrait that proclaimed me to be A Modern Day Confederate Hero. She complained to me later that the shirt was too big and that when I returned to Dixie Outfitter to ask Mr. Barber to send her the right size, and if he needed a Black model for Dixie Girls , she was his girl.
I remember well the morning as I stood on the outskirts of Orangeburg, South Carolina preparing to give an to the media about the march I was then on from Old fort, North Carolina to Charleston for the historic burial of the Hunley crew where I would be a flag bearer. A young white man would whisper into my ear: Mr. Edgerton, may I pin my purple heart onto your flag? I want you to have it. You are truly a Southern hero. When I finished the interview, I turned to thank him for the great honor he had bestowed. He was gone, and I would never know his name. As my little brother began to demolish my home that had fallen victim to hurricane Ivan after our futile attempts to save it. I would discover this flag that I had thought had been lost with so many of my other valuables. Somebody please tell Jeanie Babb Taylor that I shall ask the Honorable Randy Burbage if he would present this flag to little Diamone at the Sons of Confederate Veterans annual re-union. A proud young Southern baby who knows about the complicity of slavery of the North and civilized world to include those who call themselves Africans. Tell Jeanie Babb Taylor that after I read her article to Diamone, she just asked me to pray for her ; so I shall.