March Across Dixie Re-Union March / An Open Report
On Monday morning October 22, 2007, I would make my way down the mountains for day two of the Re-Union March across Dixie. Mr. Scott Goldsmith of the beautiful Dixie Out Post would not only deliver me to the appointed place for the commencement of the days journey, but because of the steady rain fall, he would also donate to me a beautiful nylon Battle Flag because my cotton one he indicated and I knew was sure to get heavy from the rain fall. As I made my way down highway 25, I would eventually be stopped by a young police officer from the Travelers Rest Police Department. Sir, do you know where you are, and of all things carrying the Confederate Battle Flag and dressed in a Rebel uniform to boot, he asked? This causes me a great deal of concern for your safety. He went on to tell me that there were some very bad people who lived and drove along this stretch of road. I told him that I was heading to Texas and had traveled this very road many times with my flag in hand always, and I walked with the faith that my God would keep me safe. About that time, two gentlemen would come up, and asked if they could take a picture of me. Several cars would pass honking their horns and shouting out different renditions of the Rebel yell. After watching this display of love for a time, the officer eventually bid me good luck and said that he would keep out an eye for my safety. I hugged two other people who had now come up as he waved and drove away. I want to not only thank Mr. Goldsmith for his charity, but also the men of the Cider House for the best goober peas in the upstate, the best cider, and pecan candy, neither of which they would allow me to pay for, and also Lt.Col. Victor M. Montgomery U.S.A.F., Retired, whose charity and kindness along highway 25, I shall never forget.
Tuesday morning, October 23, 2007 would find me heading down highway 123 into the beautiful city of Easley, S.C., and if there was noise ordnance it was broken as the ovation from the vehicles honking and people shouting out to me was absolutely breath taking. I decided to stand for a while and take in all the love that was being bestowed upon the Flag that I carried. I watched as a blue pick up truck with a trailer hitch on the rear make a u-turn and come back to where I stood. A young Black man would exist the truck. I must admit that my first thought was, what now? Am I going to be hassled? Either way I knew I was ready; I had been here many times before. The young man was so very pleasant; he told me that his name was Karem. He told me that he had studied history in college and was simply fascinated at the level of lies that had been put forward by those who taught history about the period during the War Between the States. After listening to this very bright and respectable young man, I told him that he should just give me the keys to his truck and take my flag and head on off to Texas for me. We talked about how not only Black folks had no real perspective about why that war was fought, but far too many White folks were lost as well because the victor had claimed his spoils and inculcated into the thinking process of our nation an incredible lie about a whole region of people, their relationships with each other and had set about setting them apart. I know that those who now passed the two of us wondered why two Black men stood on the side of the road embraced in a hug of friendship; especially since one was adorned in a Confederate soldiers uniform and carrying a Confederate Battle Flag! It was not long after Karem had driven away that I would be joined by Bo from the Pendleton Sons of Confederate Veterans, and shortly after Homer Price decked out in his Confederate uniform along with his wife Judi from the Easley Camp of the Sons. We marched into Dixie Lumber Company to a show of love from the employees there that was symbolic to the reception that Terry Lee and I had received 5 years ago. They showed me the scrap book of honor the company displayed in its office. Sure enough, we had made the pages. Bo would treat our contingent to lunch; it had been a great day in Dixie!
Wednesday morning October 24, 2007, I would once again be joined by Bo, Homer and Judi along with Mike Heat, the Commander of the Westminster, South Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans as we would march to one place that I looked to return to with a great deal of apprehension, simply because this was the place that almost stalled out the first March. Only this time things were very different. While the Clemson police made their presence known, none would stop us on this day. I later learned that the very nice police Lieutenant, who had been ordered to stop us previously and eventually marched with us to the Seneca Bridge, was now the Police Chief. A young Black girl would stop her car, get out and give me a big hug, and tell me that she had wanted to stop the day before to meet me. The Conoco gas station where we had been stopped was now leveled to the ground. We took pictures and named the place; the site of the Battle of Conoco. A young White man would drive by and in no uncertain terms let us know that he was a Yankee and that this was 2007, and that we should get off the streets with that flag. In my most polite manner, I respectfully indicated to him the direction to the freeway north.
I do hope that Commander (Pee Wee) Henry Hopkins of the Walhalla South Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans can forgive me for losing the names of all those wonderful people who came out to march with me into their beautiful city Thursday morning, October 25, 2007, and on to the Confederate cannon and monument there. I also want to thank David Wright and his beautiful sister for the gifts presented for Terry Lee and I, and all those wonderful people who gathered at his store (Wrights),for the great reception and display of love as we marched into downtown Walhalla. We would late after a press interview, drive over to Westminister , South Carolina for a photo op, and a brief ceremony at the Confederate monument . I would later be somewhat put back by the comments in the Anderson Independent by the NAACP President in the very city of my moms hometown. She would indicate that while she had no problem with me expressing my 1st Amendment Right by marching; my march carrying the flag only stirred up emotions of the Ku Klux Klan. How sad I thought. She was so far off course with her thinking, and had she known anything about the Klan under the rule of General Forest; then she would have known that it not only helped break the back of so called Reconstruction in the South, but had probably protected the very existence of her family and so many more who looked like her and I. Nor I’m sure that she probably did not know of the scores of Black men who wanted to join in with the Klan to protect their people from the terrible crimes being leveled by the Union League as they raped, and murdered especially those unsuspecting Blacks who did not joined the Republican Party as they were told to, or any other of the whelms that came to their criminal minds.
Friday morning would find me marching alongside the young members of the Currahee Cadets of Toccoa, Georgia with a police and Sheriff escort , as we headed into the Toccoa, whose Black Mayor in 2002 had given my brother and I the key to the City as we made our way across Dixie carrying our message of the love that had existed between Southern Whites and Southern Blacks as they joined together as family to repelled that man who had crossed into their homelands as an invader, held bent on circumventing the very Constitution that had forged a partnership between them. On this day October 26, 2007 as we reached the Council chambers, the Vice Mayor would heap so much praise on me for making a stand for my Southern family and our glorious heritage. His words would bring tears to my eyes, and I knew that my dear mom whose is now in Heaven can only be wearing out General Lee and General Cleyburn’s ears out with the pride she must now feel watching from above.
Saturday morning October 27, 2007, along with Past Commander Ted Brooke , Adjutant General Joseph Warnke of the Hiram Parks Bell Camp of the Sons , and General Joe’s entire family that included the brave and beautiful Anna, Mary, Sam, John, Emily and Ms. Warnke, we made our way down highway 9 into the beautiful city of Cummings, Georgia. Should any ever visit Cummings, please visit the Sons room in their beautiful library in downtown Cummings. God bless Ms.Warnke and her family for all their support.
Monday morning, October 29,2007, I would meet briefly with the Commander of the Roswell Sons and their Adjutant Mr.Douglas Allen, Jr. would escort me as I made my way down highway 9 into Roswell, Georgia, a city whose history would be marred by the actions of Shermans men who had kidnapped a group of Southern women, taking them North, put them out onto the streets, never to be heard from again. I and Mr. Allen would visit the Bullock House, home of the Roosevelt family, speak with a group of tourist, take pictures with them and later have lunch with another SCV member.
Time does not permit for me to continue this report, but let me say that this re-union is turning out to be one of love, and I hope that my homeland and it’s people with find the vindication that it deserves. I had a ball in Fairbur last evening and am now on my way to march 5 miles into the heart of heir lovely city. I shall try and report more as I make my way towards Austin.