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Columbia, South Carolina – January 25, 2008

Friday morning, January 25, 2008, at approximately 8:30 AM, adorned in the
uniform of the Southern soldier, while brandishing his glorious flag, I
would station myself at the Confederate soldiers monument on the grounds of
the State Capitol facing the Gervais street traffic in Columbia, South
Carolina ;it was the day before the State would hold it’s Democract Primary
and give a resounding victory to Barack Obama. This was not my first time in
Columbia with my flag. I had stood on the Capitol steps on January 7, 2000
reading the names from the Confederate War Role of those brave and honorable
men, both Black and White who had serve the State in the War for Southern
Independence;alongside my baby brother who would toll the bell after the
reading of a soldiers name, I had stood alongside the then oldest living
Confederate widow(MS.Alberta Martin), while the late Dr.Emory, an African
American Sons of Confederate Veteran gave a resounding speech in support of
the Battle flag that then flew over the Capitol building and it remaining
there,I had been in Columbia the day the flag was placed on the monument
where I now stood, I had marched from Asheville, North Carolina right past
here on my way to serve as a color bearer in the Hunley funeral procession
in Charleston, South Carolina, where a Mayor named Reily had come to these
grounds to taint the Southern Cross fame,and lastly I had left these hallow
grounds and alongside my baby brother, carrying the Christian Cross of
St.Andrew joined in the funeral procession that carried the caison of one of
the States favorite sons, and a Son of a Confederate Veteran;the late
Senator Strom Thurmond; as folks gathered along the way shouted out my and
my little brothers name gleefully. However, on this day, I would be cursed,
threatened with all sorts of subjugation, and in no uncertain term I can
tell Jessee and Al that the second ressurection has occurred; Nigger has
come back; I know this because I would here it called out many times before
this day would end.

A very nice member of the Capitol police would come out and greet me
first;he told me that he would keep an eye out for me, and if I needed any
help just give a shout.While there was news media all around the Capitol on
this day, they avoided me like I had the plague, but not those who were now
passing by.Just as a television camera who was stationed under a tent across
the street made the decision that just maybe he should come to where I stood
at the monument, because of all of the horn blowing and outright commotion
that was taking place because of my presence;a young Black woman began
yelling expletives from her car as she held up traffic to let me know what a
stupid old foolish Nigger that I was standing there holding a flag that the
White folks in South Carolina just voted against in the Republican Primary
when they voted for John McCain, a White man who had made it known that he
hated that thing I was waving in her face.No sooner than she would pull off
than a mini van full of Black folks would stop in the middle of traffic,
unload and began questioning and taking pictures with and of me.The Capitol
police would come again, this time to ask of these people who now had
traffic backed up for blocks to move on, and serve me with a warning if I
caused traffic to tie up again,they would have to ask me to move on.No
sooner had they left, than what looked like a city truck of sorts stopped
right there in traffic and a very big and muscular Black man headed my way;
fire coming from his eyes and smoke from his hears,he would discharge a
rhetoric that would leave my character in a state that can only be described
as pulverulent. I know that the young white man that sat on the passenger
side of the vehicle that he had existed, must have feared for my safety. As
the gentleman started to walk away from me, I asked him did I not have
something to say, especially after his tirade that his mama would have in
all likelihood been ashamed of him giving to a man that wore the same
uniform that his grandpa wore, unless of course he was a Yankee, he turned
and glared at me, then drove away as my backbone stiffened and my flag flew
briskly in the wind that my God had sent on this beautiful chilled morning.

Moments later two White gentleman would come and ask if they could take
pictures of and with me, as usual I agreeded.One of their friends who would
join us moments later after hearing that I needed change for parking, would
refuse my money,walk several blocks to where I was parked and fill my
parking meter.As they were leaving, another Capitol policeman would come and
greet me, as he extended his hand to me the folks that were leaving seemed
amazed that I would receive this kind of ovation from the officer.Just as
the officer had disappeared back onto the Capitol grounds, I could see
another young neatly dressed Black man approaching me.He went immediately
into a tirade about what a stupid, ignorant, darkie that I was standing
there making a fool out of myself for the whole world to see.He told me that
I was hollow and that nothing that I had to say to him made any sense. He
told me that if I could get just one Black person to sat anything positive
to me that he would go away, but until then he was going to stay right there
and give a load of his First Amendment Rights.He recurited another young
Black man who was passing on the sidewalk to join with him in his negative
assement of why I was standing there with the Southern Cross;don’t old
school know that the White folks down here voted for the Flag Hater John
McCain, he asked. I told you he was stupid came the reply.Moments later as
the young man still stood hurling his expletives in my direction, a young
White man came from the otherside of the monument, his arms wide open to
embrace me, Hk he asked, don’t you remember me, we walked together in the
funeral procession in Mobile, Alabama this summer for the unknown sailor;
I’m also a member of the Wade Hampton Camp here in Columbia.This show of
affection didn’t impress the young Black man who now watched this show of
affection between two Southern friends.Look at you White man, he said,
standing there hugging that stupid old Black man. No, the young White man
would say;this is the great HK,Edgerton, don’t you know who he is.I don’t
care the young man would exclaim;I don’t like White people either, because
y’all don’t like Black people here in South Carolina.Just look what you let
happen to us,;you don’t come into our communities, and you don’t know and
don’t care about all the bad things that are happening, you or your Uncle
Tom,or those people up there he said pointing towards the State House.Again
the Capitol police would show because the young man’s cursing of us had
become very loud ans the crowd had began to grow again around me.They would
admonish the young man for his language and warn him that if he continued
that he and I would have to move on. I would once again be pulled to the
side by another Capitol policeman and warned that if I could not control the
crowd that gathered before me, I would be asked to move on.He kept pointing
at the State House, until I finally told him to put the Christian Croos on
his shoulders and go up to the Senate and ask all the Yankees to raise their
hands or to move to one side, and then go stand befor all the Southern
Senators and tell them about how your grandpa had stood right loyally beside
theirs in the War for Southern Independence, and you needed them to stand
beside you and your community because you knew that the Yankees were still
holding Black Doutherners accountable for that loyalty and were never going
to help your community, no matter how many came down here and talked against
our flag and the honorable folks who served under it, to include the
civilian population who supported it.He would turn from me and hold
conversation with the young man from the Wade Hampton camp as I fielded
questions from a young White girl who had been patiently listening to our

The young lady wanted to know why I had come to Columbia on this day and
week of the Democratic Primary. I told her that if I had not been in Martin,
Tennesse giving the keynote speech for the Lee/Jackson celebrations, I would
have been there when the Republicans were in town. I told her that her we
have men and a woman running for the highest office in the land, and some
would feel far too comfortable telling the world the dislike they have for
the Southern Cross, and that I felt it my duty to come and stand and let the
whole world know that it was unacceptable and that there were men and women
who looked like me who felt a great deal of pride in the legacy of those of
our ancestors who earned a place of honor and dignity under the flag, and
furthermore were not happy with another person entering the White House who
would continue the Reconstruction rhetoric and modus operandi brought to the
South with the establishment of the Public school system in 1865. To my
amazement, as I heard my name called out from the young man from the Hampton
Camp; the young Black man and he would embrace, shake hands , and he would
proclaim to me; HK, you keep up yopur good work, I would never believe that
this young man and I would come to amiable terms on this day, I shall tell
everyone in the Camp about this day.The Black young msan would come over to
me, and now would tell me his name(Adrian). He told me that when he was
14years old that he had been falsely accused of murder, and that the State
news[paper had railroaded himas well as the prosecution atttorney that had
witheld information that would have exonerated him. He would be found
innocent as information finall surfaced to clear him. He had tried to sue
the paper an attorney, but no one would help him until the ACLU finally told
him to file a suit.He told me how he had put an eight foot ladder at the
window of the television studio across the street from where we now stood,
adorned a KKK robe and held a sign at the window as they broadcast.He asked
if I would like to see his sign. He walked to his car and came back with it,
just as I was in the middle of a television interview with an Italian
television station.Adrian opened his sign and it read, “When will Black’s
get equal treatment in South Carolina”? After finishing the interview with
the Italians, a young Black television reporter from I believe him to say
channel 5 would ask for an interview, and I would tell why I had felt
compelled to come to Columbia on this day.Adrian was now interviewing with
the Italian television station. I heard him tewll the reporter that he and I
were a perfect pair on this day, his sign and my flag was the real story he
proclaimed.The African American Women Coalition Parttnership was now
holding a rally on the Capitol steps right behind me and feeling that I was
detracting from their rally, I decided that after some 5 hours standing in
the cold that it was now time to leave.My new found friend, Adrian did not
want me to leave, he finally reconciled that I must and asked to accompany
me across the Capitol to where I was parked. We walked past the ladies,
waving to some as we left. Arriving at my car, I would pop the trunk, sign a
copy of my dear friend, Mike Scruggs Un-Civil War and present a sign copy of
my now famous Dixie OutFitter shirt that proclaims me to be a” Confederate
Hero”.I looked up and another Black man was standing by my car, he
introduced himself as W>E>, and said that he had to turn around when he saw
two Black men leaving the Capito grounds, especially with one dressed in a
Confederate uniform and carrying the Battle Flag and walking with Adrian. He
wanted a copy of Mikes book, and his size in my shirt, signed of course, and
a new Mercedes.It had been a great day in Dixie. I would get a telephone
call from Adrian on Saturday wanting to know where I was. It was a great day
to fly the flag, come on.

HK Edgerton