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An Open Letter & Open Report / The Listening Forum; The Confederacy & Monument Removals

From: HK Edgerton [hk.edgerton@gmail.com]
Date: Sat, Sep 16, 2017
Subject: An Open Letter & Open Report / The Listening Forum; The Confederacy & Monument Removals
To: siegels1 [siegels1@mindspring.com]

Dear Ms. Lunelle,

At the invitation of Ms. Cathryn Mcleod and Dr. John Grant, Pastor of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Asheville, North Carolina, I would be asked to serve on a panel sponsored by the church to discuss the Southern Confederacy and Confederate monuments that are being systematically removed all over the South.

On Thursday, September 13, 2017, the forum would begin with myself, Dr. Grant, a local newspaper columnist and a historian from one of the local colleges serving as the panelist. Each of the panelists would be given five minutes to make an opening statement and, afterwards, an open mike would be made available to members of the public to ask a question or make a statement.

For my opening statement, I would read verbatim from the speech that I gave on January 8, 2000, at the fairgrounds in Columbia, South Carolina to those of us who had come in opposition of the Southern Cross being removed from atop the Capitol dome. (see Southern Heritage 411 E-mail Archives)

One participant from the audience who just happens to be married to one of my childhood friends, and a self proclaimed journalist, began a diatribe about how when she passes the Confederate soldiers monument, she becomes so offended. It sounded almost verbatim to what I heard from Les Miller, the Hillsborough County Commissioner in Tampa, and not surprising in other municipalities I've visited.

I would later be told by another member of the audience that what the woman said came from a quote placed on the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center prompting those against the Battle Flag and Confederate monuments just how to respond to questions and statements to make in these type of venues and to the press.

I was born and raised in this city during Jim Crow, served as 1st Vice, and President of the NAACP, served on the Mayor's bi-centennial committee, served on the Buncombe County Commission committee to re-write the Minority Business Program, and would never hear one word from any citizen about the Vance monument, or the Confederate soldiers monument at the County Courthouse. I would bet my life that she nor Les Miller could pass a lie detector test, and in so many words, i would allude to that.

In fact, the only word I ever heard in complaint about the Confederate monument at the courthouse came from a young Black baby girl (Ms. Diamone Mays) about cleaning around the monument and cutting the tree limbs that covered the soldier at the top of its base. The city's response was to remove the soldier from atop the base, never to be seen from again. Nobody from the city government to this day will answer the question; where is the soldier that disappeared more than ten years ago? Ms. Mays would be inducted into the Texas Order of St. George for her efforts to right a wrong being done to this Memorial.

It was clear to me as the night wore on that the words spoken by Judah P. Benjamin and echoed on this night would be the only dark spot for the Confederate side. I truly believe that Dr. Grant was seeking the truth with understanding from the darkened waters of Yankee rhetoric meant to divide and separate Southern Whites, and Southern Blacks would be discounted for it truly was pure poppycock whose design today was just like it was in the reconstruction period; duping and turning the African people into enemies of the Southern White populous. On this night, that plan would take a big hit.

I would be cut off by the moderator as I began my closing remarks about the Dylan Roof fiasco and the photoshopped pictures of him with the Southern Cross in hand, and the insistence of the Northern press to lead haters of the South and the cowardly Governor and scalawag Senator Lindsay Graham, who aided their mission down the path of Southern social and cultural suicide to the delight of those who already had begun on a path of Southern social and cultural genocide.

Haley served the South up because of her no confidence vote in the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. She proclaimed that she had to do something. No amount of time served at the United Nations will ever remove her from the cesspool of hate for her action. Fear from the likes of the thugs that descended on New Orleans, or Charlottesville, or Manatee County, Florida, will forever be the legacy of Roof and Haley.

In conclusion, I applaud Dr. Grant and Ms. Mcleod for doing what all these municipalities of the South should have done; seek truth and knowledge for a people who have had inculcated into them, and their children's thinking process, far too many lies about what took an honorable people to war, and afterwards, making every effort to turn the African people against a man that they not only called Master, but also family and friend.

Removing the Memorials of our Confederate dead; Red, Yellow, Brown, Black and White, freed and indentured alike, is the formula for more hate with no social, political or economic gains for anyone. If they would just leave us alone is the words that I heard from both Black and White elders as I grew up in the Jim Crow era in the South that was forced upon us by the Northern dominated Supreme Court, with the lone voice of a former Southern plantation owner, who said it was a system that the South did not need.

The local media chose to boycott this event, opting out to cover a story about a White man who would post the Southern Cross with a sign that read: "Slaves for sale." Thank God for his Black neighbor who said that she did not view him as a bigot, or racist, but just as a loyal Southerner who was fed up with the attacks on the Southland and its people. God bless Dr. Grant and his parishioners who seek the road to peace and truth. And may God bless you!

Your brother,

HK

Recipient, North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans Vance Aycock Award