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An Open Report / The Knighting of Diamone Mays / Crystal Springs Mississippi
At the Annual Sons of Confederate Veterans Christmas Party held at the Historic Dixie Barbeque Restaurant in Johnson City, Tennessee, little Diamone Mays would become only the second individual outside the Republic of Texas to be knighted into the Sons of Confederate Texas Division Mounted Color Guard, Texas Order of Saint George. To a packed house, Diamone’s mother would pin the Saint George medal upon her chest as her grandfather and brother looked proudly on as she would be presented with a certificate that read: Greetings to Diamone Mays, In recognition of your invaluable service, your dedication to the fulfillment of the duties and responsibilities undertaken while serving the Texas Division Commander and the Commander–in-Chief, this certificate is given for your contribution to the Confederate History and Heritage. Texas Division Mounted Color Guard, Colonel Bill Fowler.
Diamone would also be presented for her stand on behalf of the crew of the Hunley, the flag that I had carried on my march to the Sea. This flag held special significance because as I stood giving an interview to the press on the outskirts of Orangeburg, South Carolina as I made my way to the Hunley crew burial in Charleston, a young Army Veteran would whisper a request into my ear if he would be allowed to pin his Purple Heart upon my flag? I turned and told him that I could not accept his medal. He said that I was a hero of his and that it would be a great honor for him. When the interview was over, I turned to thank him, but he had gone as quickly as he had come. I never knew his name. May God bless him.
Several years later as I was visiting Dixie Outfitters in Odum, Georgia, I would receive a phone call from Diamone asking if Mr. Barber would send her a Hunley shirt? She informed me that her class at Oakley Elementary in Asheville, N.C. was studying the Hunley. I told her that if she wore the shirt to school, Mr. Lyons of the Southern Legal Resource Center might have to defend her in court. Her reply was that she was a Southern girl and would make the call to Mr. Lyons personally if it came to that. Mr. Barber sent her the shirt, she wore it proudly and received acclamations from her principal, teacher and classmates. Diamone would later on ask of the Chairman of the Buncombe County Commissioner for help on cleaning up the area around and the Confederate Soldiers monument on the grounds of the County Courthouse in the City of Asheville. May God bless young Diamone, a young African American girl who is proud to be Southern and make a stand for those who can no longer make a stand for themselves.
On Saturday morning, December 13, 2008, I would alongside my Compatriot brother Jim who had been the inspirational figure to lead the planting of over 16,000 flags on the graves of the Confederate dead at Elmira, make my way to the Railroad Pavilion in the beautiful downtown of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, where Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander, the Honorable Mike Webb of the SCV Camp #72, would present me with the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans John L. Harris Heritage Award. Commander Web would recite the following passage upon presenting the Award: Consider the example of Representative John H. Harris, a Legislator from Washington County, Mississippi. This occurred in 1893 as the House of the State of Mississippi considered a Bill to fund a Confederate Monument.
“Mr. Speaker! I have risen here in my place to offer a few words on the bill. I have come from a sick bed… Perhaps it was not prudent for me to come. But, Sir, I could not rest quietly in my room without…contributing a few remarks of my own. I was sorry to hear the speech of the young gentleman from Marshall County. I am sorry that a son of a soldier could go on record as opposed to the erection of a monument in honor of the brave dead. And, Sir, I am convinced that had he seen what I saw at Seven Pines and in the seven days fighting around Richmond, the battlefield covered with the mangled forms of those who fought for their country’s honor, he would not have made that speech.
When the news came that the South had been invaded, those men went forth to fight for what they believed, and they made no requests for monuments…but they died, and their virtues should be remembered. Sir, I went with them. I too wore Gray, the same color my master wore. We stayed four long years, and if that war had gone on till now, I would have been there yet…I want to honor those brave men who died for their convictions. When my mother died I was a boy.
Who, Sir, then acted the part of mother to the orphaned slave boy, but my “old missus”? Were she living now, or could she speak to me from those high realms where are gathered the sainted dead, she would tell me to vote for this bill. And Sir, I shall vote for it. I want it known to all the world that my vote is given in favor of the bill to erect a monument in honor of the Confederate dead.”
LET IT BE ADDED THAT, ALONG WITH MR. HARRIS, ALL SIX BLACK REPUBLICANS VOTED WITH HIM.
Later in the evening, I would attend the Sons 3rd Brigade Christmas Party in Liberty, Mississippi, and to a packed house receive a standing ovation after delivering a brief speech. I would be remiss in my duties if I did not mention the luncheon that I attended at Louise's Barbeque with so many of my Southern family who had traveled great distances to greet me. Louise's Barbeque held up to the bragging of the reputation placed upon it by so many of the patrons. It had been a great day in Dixie and I know that my mom, dad and ancestors were proud that such great honors had been bestowed to me.