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Black Confederate Decries Free Speech Violations

Speaking at the “Confederate Heritage
Dinner” in Osceola, Missouri last Saturday black activist
H. K. Edgerton warned the crowd that all Southern culture was under
attack by the forces of “political correctness”. Through
numerous examples Edgerton emphasized over and over how symbols
of Southern culture were being targeted. The Confederate Battleflag
or what he termed “the Christian St. Andrews Cross”
is at the center of the controversy according to Edgerton.

In a wide ranging 62 minute speech at the dinner hosted by the
Col. John T. Coffee Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) at
least 138 people listened to Mr. Edgerton speech. Interrupted
over a dozen times with applause Edgerton’s dramatic presentation
was punctuated by him waving press articles in the air pointing
to them as examples that bolstered his arguments. Both black and
white audience members cheered his poetic defense of the Confederate

Citing many situations that he has been involved in Mr. Edgerton
built a case showing how the attack on the Confederate Flag is
a calculated nationwide movement. Examples given included the
First Amendment controversy at the University of Texas in Austin
sparked when Edgerton attempted to honor the memory of Southern
heroes by placing a Battleflag at a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
He was restrained by police for his actions.

Echoing the policies of former Missouri Gov. Bob Holden when
he took the Flag from the gravesites at the Confederate Memorial
near Higginsville, Missouri Mr. Edgerton pointed to the similar
actions in other Southern states like South Carolina and Georgia.
Edgerton also said that schools were often being manipulated by
radical elements that want to destroy Southern Culture. He highlighted
the recent case at the Oak Grove (Missouri) high school where
a student was given an “F” because he did his Black
History month project on Edgerton’s defense of the Confederate
Battleflag. To emphasize the importance of this situation he summoned
the Oak Grove student, Justin Michael Williams, from the audience.
Edgerton called him “my baby boy” and characterized
him as a “Southern hero” in the cause of free speech.

A native of Asheville, North Carolina, a lifetime member of the
SCV, and a former NAACP chairman he is currently serving on the
board of the Southern Legal Resource Center. Mr. Edgerton discussed
his views on many topics relating to the understanding of Southern
society. Beginning his talk with leading the audience in singing
“Dixie” he did not shy away from controversy. He characterized
slavery in the Old South as an opportunity for “white folks
to uplift themselves by showing a good example” and practicing
Christian principles while taking care of the least fortunate
in society. Before moving to other issues he admonished some in
the audience “Think about it white folks, think about it.”

He then went on to describe how he delivered a letter to President
Bush about his struggle to save Southern culture from extermination.
Southern culture is disappearing he writes, “…in the
face of the tyranny known as “political correctness.”
He says, “I am a black man, the descendent of slaves”
and in my attempt to defend Southern symbols such as the Confederate
Flag “…I was greeted by an astounding outpouring of
love and support from blacks and whites alike”. He goes
on to say, “These people, my Southern family, hunger and
thirst after righteousness. They have been fired from their jobs,
lives disrupted, ridiculed, libeled, slandered, injured, and even
killed for trying to express their pride in who they are…”
He read the whole letter and gave examples of “cultural
atrocities” from all across the South. A recent act of political
vandalism was committed in Danville, Missouri when a billboard
on I-70 was smashed and defaced because it featured the Confederate
Flag. Mr. Edgerton’s speech received a standing ovation
by the audience.

People representing Missouri and seven other states as far away
as California attended the talk. Several national SCV dignitaries
were also in the audience. Past (SCV) Commander in Chief Ron Wilson
and Ed Deeson briefly addressed the crowd. Wilson talked about
the Union Army destroying Osceola in 1861 and how important that
event was to Southern history. Among other national SCV dignitaries
attending were Chris Sullivan and Jim Dark. The Master of Ceremonies
was Camp Commander Gary Ayres who handed off the introduction
of speaker Edgerton to SCV Chief of Staff and Jefferson City native
Ron Casteel.

The Confederate Heritage Dinner is an annual event hosted by
the Col. John T. Coffee SCV Camp of Stockton, Missouri. Sons of
Confederate Veterans is a century old military heritage society
that seeks to promote a positive image of the Confederate veteran
and the cause for which he fought.