An Open Letter & Open Report – Jacksonville
From: HK Edgerton [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Date: Fri, May 13, 2016
Subject: An Open Letter & Open Report / Jacksonville
To: siegels1 [email@example.com]
Dear Ms. Lunelle,
On Monday, May 9, 2016, Ms. Jenna and I would make our way into downtown Jacksonville, Florida, where we would be greeted by the Honorable James Shillinglaw and another gentleman who walked up beside
James and unfurled a Confederate Naval Jack.
I would greet them both with open arms, thinking, of course, that the other gentleman was part of the contingent of Jim’s who would host our visit in Jacksonville.
We would walk around to the Confederate soldiers monument that was in the central part of a square filled with people, of whom were mostly Black folks eating, playing chess or checkers, holding
conversations or just plain walking back and forth. It was our plan to just pose for a photo or two at the monument.
However, with the Southern Cross in hand, and don in a Dixie Outfitters shirt with the Honorable General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his Black Confederate soldiers with the caption that read, “These
men stayed with me to the end, and no better Confederstes ever lived,” would spark a heated debate between myself and many of them, of whom one, Rock, would be the most adamant to speak against the
nerve of me showing up with the Southern Cross. He would ask of me several questions, never allowing me to answer one.
Suddenly, several other White men would walk up and stand next to me, and getting very cozy with them was the young man I had previously hugged. One had on a shirt that read, “Life member of the Ku
Klux Klan.” I would ask of them pointing at the shirt, “What’s up with that?” I would be told that the Klan had come to protest my presence with the Southern Cross.
Before I could retort, Rock, my now Black friend, would say to them, “Y’all got a lot of nerve to come here to protest HK carrying the Confederate Battle Flag. He has every right to carry it, just
like all the other Black Confederate soldiers did.”
All of a sudden, the Klan found themselves having to deal with a lot of Black and White folks supporting Rock’s statement. For me, the worm had turned. “Why do you hate us,” another Black man would
ask the Klan. The response from the Klan would be, “we don’t hate you or anybody.”
For the first time in my memory, to their credit the Klan was holding a dialogue with a group of Black folks without using a lot of expletives.
I want to make it clear to all the drama writers that not just because the mighty honorable Jacksonville police had a contingent present, but to be included, I, at no time, felt threatened by anyone.
And I thanked them profusely for allowing all to engage in a peaceful and fiery dialogue. After a time, I would say goodbye to all and make my way to the Honorable House of Represenative Member, Lake.
Later in the evening, I would speak to a packed house at the Museum of Southern History and accept a Medal of High Honor, and thank all present for the much needed donations that they would fill my
donation bucket with.
God bless you.
Honorary Life Member
North Carolina & Tennessee Order of the Confederate Rose