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Tallahassee / An Open Letter

The Associated Press would tell of the honorable effort of the Florida
Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans campaign to create
a specialty tag. I am so very proud that they would also accurately
report that I led in the singing of Dixie prior to the announcement

Something else would happen later on in this day which I would call
an act of providence. Terry Lee (my baby brother) who had traveled
here with me, and I, would end up on the road to Havana Florida
for no other reason other than Terry Lee suggested we go there because
it was a beautiful day; one that should not be wasted watching Sci
– Fi. Arriving on the outskirts of Havana, Terry Lee proclaimed
that he wanted to play his drum for which he is highly acclaimed
both in the entertainment and educational circles of Western North
Carolina. Terry Lee being somewhat like I am towards my flag; will
spontaneously park his car and get out and play his African Drums.
I suggested the school yard, he said no, and we ended up on the
beautiful and spacious lawn of the Municipal Building for the City
of Havana, Florida ; Terry Lee playing his drum, and by now me standing
there holding my beautiful Confederate Battle Flag while thoroughly
not only enjoying Terry Lee’s playing, but also the moment. From
where I stood I could plainly see the many onlookers in the strip
mall across the street; the old black man who had parked his wheel
chair and was having a grand time, the honking of the horns from
the cars that passed and the clear sound of the rebel yell swelled
me with pride for it came from blacks and whites alike,after dialogue,
the kind words of support from a black gentleman and the passengers
in his car, who proclaimed to me ;continue your honorable stand.

Shortly thereafter, a car pulled up, a nice lady got out and require
of me, what were we protesting ? Before I could answer her , a plains
clothed policeman , and a officer came upon me, I left her with
Terry Lee explaining while I was being told by the policemen that
in no uncertain terms, we would have to vacate the premises, and
that there were city ordinances that govern a permitting process
for the right to demonstrate. I told him that we were not demonstrating
against anything. My little brother wanted to play his drum, and
I having nothing better to do decided to fly my flag, and enquired
of the officer , do you mean to tell me that in the Southland of
America, that if I get out of my car and decide to express my first
amendment right by flying my flag, I would be required to obtain
a permit. The very nice officer kindly explained that this being
city property , we need a permit, or would have to go. Somehow we
ended up in a lengthy conversation about the political correctness
and reconstruction agenda to divide black and white folks in the
South, and none more prevalent that today, especially the attack
on our flag and people. I expressed to him that perhaps I had taken
up too much of their time preaching, for we had been standing there
now for some time conversation like old friends, while throngs of
people had now gathered across the street, watching I suppose, expecting
something bad to happen to Terry Lee and I from the police. The
plains clothes policeman exclaimed to me, no Mr..Edgerton, I have
enjoyed talking and learning some things from you here today. Terry
Lee indicated that he had a DVD of our journey to Texas in the van.
As he and the young officer went to retrieve a copy, the other officers
phone began to ring. I could clearly hear him say yes mam, yes mam.
As he approached me I said officer we shall go now, his response
was no, you don’t have to leave; that lady that was talking to your
brother, is the City Manager, Ms Susan Fraiden, and further she
says that you and your brother can stay here as long as you like.
I was suddenly in a state of euphoria; here was a young Southern
White Lady in a position of prominence in a Southern town who made
a decision on this day that so many of her station would not have
had the courage to make. I shall always love her. I asked the plains
clothed officer his Chiefs name so that I could thank him for the
officer the name of his Chief so that I could than him for the courteous
manner that we had been extended, He exclaimed that he was Chief
Mitchell , and that his Department would be there for us if we need
any assistance. God bless him and Officer Cobb.

As if this was not enough, Terry Lee and I on Saturday would march
in the Tallahassee Festival Parade along side the Sons, Daughters,Children
of the Confederacy, and the Order of the Confederate Rose. Our spirits
could not be dampened even after being told by one of the parade
officials just prior to the parade beginning, that the some 10,000
Confederate Battle Flags purchased, would not be allowed to be passed
out to the wanting public. I was feeled with pride when I looked
up and saw Terry Lee’s African Drum decorated in a circle of 13
of those flags, each representing one of the Confederate States.
I was even more proud when Terry Lee led our Southern family off
to the beat of his drum. I am sure that the people of Tallahassee,
like those of Havana shall never forget the spectacle of love and
family as an African drummer amongst a sea of Confederate Flags
marched to the step of Southern pride and love.