An Open Letter & Open Report – St. Augustine
From: HK Edgerton [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Date: Sat, May 14, 2016
Subject: An Open Letter & Open Report / St. Augustine
To: siegels1 [email@example.com]
Dear Ms. Lunelle,
On Tuesday, May 10, 2016, Ms. Jenna and I got our logistics wrong and ended up driving to St. Augustine for the city cemetery, where we were scheduled to meet with the Honorable Earl Ray, the
descendant of the Honorable Dr. Alexander Darnes, a Black Confederate soldier, Aid de Camp of the Honorable General Kirby Smith, and the first Black doctor in the state of Florida.
I would speak to Mr. Ray, apologize, and tell him how very proud I was of his ancestor and General Smith. He would boast the same, and we would agree to meet at another time.
Later, Ms. Jenna and I would meet with Ms. Marsha Pomar and her mother, travel to the boyhood home of General Smith and Dr. Darnes, pose for pictures at the monument of the General and Doctor.
We would afterwards go to the center of town and make our way up Andrew Young Walkway, a pathway so named that marks the path where the Honorable Andrew Young and Dr. Martin Luther King were
arrested. This path leads directly to the Confederate soldiers monument.
I found it ironic that here I was, the son of former slaves, don in a Dixie Outfitters shirt that had a photo of General Lee and General Jackson depicting the Last Meeting, on the anniversary of
General Jackson’s death, and to boot with the Southern Cross in hand listening to cheers where King and Young would only hear jeers.
I would post the Colors on both corners adjacent to the monument posing for pictures, and accepted many messages of thanks from those who now passed me by, to include a young lady in uniform from
the Welcome Center office who, with teary eyes, would too thank me for my presence.
Mrs. Mars would later take us to the St. Augustine Cemetery, where not only her ancestors lay in rest, but many other Confederate soldiers, to include Black Confederate soldiers, Anthony T. Welters,
Isaac Papino, and Emanuel Osborne.
Later that evening, I would speak to the family and guests of the W.W. Lorning Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Upon arriving back to my motel room, I would receive a phone call from a man who would say… “I am the Klan member who stood beside you in Jacksonville. I want you to know that we don’t hate
anyone. We just don’t like interracial marriage. And we certainly don’t hate you. We believe that you have a lot of courage to carry the flag, and only wish that more White people would exhibit that
courage to do the same.” He went on to say that, out of respect for me, that they had backed off in Jacksonville. God bless you. I told him that the diners were closing at ten O’clock and that I was
hungry. God bless you!
Chairman of Advisors Emeritus
Southern Legal Resource Center