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Summary Judgement Hearing ; Candice Hardwick vs. Latta High School Administrators
On Friday morning, July 31, 2009, at approximately 8:30 AM, I would arrive at the Federal Courthouse in Florence, South Carolina, donned in the uniform of the Southern soldier, carrying his glorious flag.I would immediately station myself in the public easement at the front of the building which ironically was directly across from the Black barber shop, in the hub of what appeared to be a very active Black business and residential community with several White business establishments to boot.
It would not be long before the Black barber would inquire of me as to why I was standing there with the Confederate Battle Flag in hand and wearing a Confederate uniform. I would relay to him that I had come in support of one Candice Hardwick; a young White girl who had been persecuted and denied her First Amendment Rights for making a stand for her right to wear clothing or any item that bore the Southern Cross by the staff and administration of Latta High School and the School Board who supported an outdated policy that permitted them to do so.
I went on to tell him that young Candice had made it clear to all that her stand had not just been for her ancestors, but also for the thousands of Black folks who had earned a place of honor beside the white man of the South in defense of all of their homeland that had been invaded, to include the Hispanic and Oriental populous ,crossing all the boundaries of the Judeo / Christian mettle . The young man told me to carry on and to have a blessed day.
Before I would leave that corner for the courtroom to join the many who had come in support of Candice, which included the Honorable Randall B. Burbage, the Commander of the South Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans; I would be visited by citizens both black and White. I shall never forget their kindness and hospitality. I would find myself inundated with bottle water and even a towel that a young Black girl brought for me to wipe my head of the sweat that was pouring from it, as well as several more bottles of water. Seeing all of this, the barber would send a young man to tell me that he would place some of the bottles in his refrigerator to keep cold for me.
Shortly thereafter, I would be joined by Commander Ron of one of the Florence Sons of Confederate Veterans Camps, and he would receive a rendition of the Rebel Yell from several young Black girls as they passed by in a vehicle. I told him that it was his birthday present. I was so glad that he was standing there to hear many more kind words of support from so many Black folks, and this is not to forget the same kind of support that came from our White family as well.
After doing a television interview with Channel 15, Commander Ron and I would join everyone in District Court 1 to hear and witness the Honorable Attorney Kirk D. Lyons of the Southern Legal Resource Center render a complete shellacking to the presentation of the opposing attorney who would defend the actions of the Administrators and Latta School Superintendent as he tried to turn the War Between the States into the War between Southern Black folks and Southern White folks, while stripping Black folks of their Southern Heritage and ownership in the Southern Cross.
Mr. Lyons clearly pointed out the lack of evidence that would allow the Latta defendants any claim to the court case of Tinker ; no documentation of violence in Latta High with the regard of Candice or any students wearing of apparel depicting the Confederate Flag. My only hope now is that the Honorable Judge in these proceedings will send this case to a Jury Trial.
Mr. Lyons and his team should be applauded for the masterful presentation presented on this day, and Black Southerners and arguably White Southerners as well should be appalled that no semblance of truth has been told by the legal team representing the Latta School District or the teachers responsible for teaching their children about the place of honor and dignity earned by Black folks alongside a man he called not only master, but family and friend under all the banners of the Christian Cross of Saint Andrew in defense of their homeland; “the Southland of America”.