Black Activist Proud to
Defend His 'Southern Heritage'
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By Michael L. Betsch
September 19, 2002
(CNSNews.com) - A
slave descendant - wearing a Confederate soldier's uniform and
waving the Confederate battle flag - plans to march 1,300 miles from
North Carolina to Texas next month, in a show of support for his
"I'm going to strut like a peacock all the
way," 55-year-old H.K. Edgerton told CNSNews.com .
Edgerton, a former president of the Asheville, N.C., chapter
of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,
has been fighting to protect the Confederate flag and southern
heritage for the past five years.
He currently serves as
chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Southern Legal Resource
Center, which describes itself as a "non-profit legal foundation
waging a counter-offensive to preserve Southern
Edgerton is also president of the North Carolina
Heritage Preservation Association - a group more commonly associated
with the descendants of slave owners.
Edgerton said he
defends the Confederacy to expose the lies that liberal politicians,
the media and civil rights groups continue to tell about the effects
of slavery and the Civil War.
"All these folks want to twist
our history and make out like black folks are so scared of the
[Confederate] flag and they hate the Southland and hate white
folks," Edgerton said. "Well, that's not true." According to him,
black Americans earned a place of "honor and dignity" under the
Confederate flag he now defends.
Civil rights activists,
however, believe H.K. Edgerton is in denial about the atrocities of
the slave system that brought his ancestor here in the
Edgerton said he's marching because his allegiance to
the South has always been strong, despite the fact that his
ancestors were slaves. In fact, he believes his grandfather - a
former slave - would embark upon the same journey in defense of his
southern heritage if he were alive today.
Edgerton says his
grandfather was deeded 500 acres of land in Rutherford County, N.C.,
by his former master after the Civil War. Edgerton said the bond
between his ancestors and their master was so close they considered
Monroe Gilmour, a coordinator with the
Western North Carolina Citizens For An End To Institutional Bigotry,
said Edgerton used to be a very strong voice for black issues.
Today, Edgerton's "a pathetic soul who's searching for love and has
found it with white supremacists," he said.
Edgerton to a Holocaust denier who can be presented with evidence of
slavery and its brutality and just dismisses it. Further, he said,
Edgerton has convinced himself that masters and slaves actually
labored together to improve the South.
Tool of white
The issue at hand is not Edgerton and his
upcoming march, Gilmour said. "It's our opinion that he is being
used as camouflage for the white separatist and even supremacist use
of folks like [the Southern Legal Resource Center's] Kirk
Lyons, a spokesman for the Southern Legal Resource
Center (SLRC), said he doesn't expect civil rights activists such as
Gilmour to understand what motivates Edgerton to defend his southern
"Edgerton is a born-again Confederate and he has
all the zeal of a convert. To him, it's become part of his life,"
Lyons said. "He's made friends he would probably have never made,
unfortunately, if he was still president of the NAACP."
expects communities in the southern states that Edgerton visits to
welcome him when he walks into town, carrying his Third National
Flag of the Confederacy and wearing his Confederate
Lyons said the majority of southern people do not
appreciate the NAACP's efforts to remove the Confederate banner from
flagpoles in the South.
"The people in the South, black and
white, love the Confederate flag," Lyons said. "You get out in the
country where most of this walk will be and you'll find very, very
few problems with somebody that displays the Confederate
But some African-Americans considers Edgerton's
pro-southern heritage advocacy as an affront.
attends a local Martin Luther King Peace Walk every year, wearing
his uniform and waving the Confederate flag, "It feels as if he is
there in defiance of what we're doing," Gilmour said.
E-mail a news tip to Michael L.
Letter to the Editor about this article.