Rebel flag draws support from former
Brandishing a Confederate flag and decked
in Dixie Outfitters wear Monday morning, H.K. Edgerton said there’s
one side of the story in the Ohio County schools’ Confederate
flag battle that’s been completely left out.
While John Outlaw pushes for a ban of the Confederate flag in
his daughter’s school — remembering the days when the flag was
used to terrorize black communities in the south and a black man
"could be lynched based on hearsay" — Edgerton, another
black man, points further back.
He wants people to remember, and honor, the black soldiers who
fought alongside white soldiers under the Confederate flag.
"We keep talking about the violent part of (the flag),"
Edgerton said in a press conference Monday at Greenwood Cemetery
in Owensboro. "But man’s inhumanity to man has all kinds
of colors. It has nothing to do with my flag."
Edgerton traveled from North Carolina to western Kentucky this
week for a chat with Ohio County schools Superintendent Soretta
Ralph in what he called a "peace mission."
He sees nothing offensive about the Stars and Bars.
"We’re family, black folks and white folks," Edgerton
said. "The tragedy is America began a propaganda process.
The flag was used as a weapon to divide us."
Black people can be as proud of the Confederate flag as white
people can, he said, and to take the symbol out of schools would
be a divisive move.
"If you attack the flag, you might as well just slide that
chair under the table, because there will be no dialogue,"
"There’s always two sides to every story," he said,
and another side to this story is that black soldiers were Confederate
He wants the schools’ planned sensitivity training to include
stories of the South’s black soldiers.
Edgerton is a former NAACP president and current chairman of
the board for the Southern Legal Resource Center, a group dedicated
to defending the rights of southerners to celebrate their heritage.
On Monday morning, he visited a black cemetery in Owensboro that
has been rejuvenated by black community members and volunteers
from the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Later in the day, Edgerton met with Ralph to discuss the Confederate
Ralph could not be reached for comment.
She will meet with Ohio County community members and representatives
from the NAACP on Wednesday before the Thursday school board meeting.
Mike Walker, president of the Owensboro chapter of the NAACP,
said the organization’s support of the push for a flag ban will
Edgerton "does not speak for the minorities in this community,"
Walker said. "He is not the voice of the African-American
people; he is only one African-American. I can only go based on
what this community is asking for from the NAACP, and they’re
asking the NAACP to support their efforts to have the Confederate
flag removed from the Ohio County schools’ dress code, along with
Thursday, the school board will hear a recommendation that the
dress code stay as is and that sensitivity and diversity training,
expanded curriculum and community forums begin in the schools.
The recommendation comes from a committee of parents, teachers