An Open Report / The Irony / The Appeal Of Ms. Candice Hardwick
On October 27, 2010, as I exited the security check point of the 4th Circuit court in Richmond, Virginia where the Honorable Attorney Kirk D. Lyons was set to argue the appeal of young Candice Hardwick of Latta, South Carolina, I would be approached and greeted by a Black U.S. Marshal. Great shirt, he exclaimed for everyone to hear as he pointed to my new Dixie Outfitters shirt that I had donned as a vest under my suit coat.
The irony for me was that here we were in the courthouse where attorney Lyons would be arguing for the 1st Amendment right for Ms. Hardwick to wear the apparel that bore the Southern Cross, and I was being given a high compliment by a Black Officer of the court for having one such shirt on, and even more ironic, where the plaintiff’s attorney would use folks who looked like me as his weapon of choice against the image of the Southern Cross.
Attorney Lyons would argue very eloquently that the Hardwick case should be judged on the evidence as outlined in Tinker vs. the Des Moines, Iowa School District. There had been no disruption , or complaints at the school, other than by the school staff who had taken upon themselves to persecute and harass young Candice about her wearing of Confederate symbols, then providing their own blind opinions and feelings. Their attorney argued that his clients only wanted to keep relations good at the school, and just educate the students.
At this juncture, I kept asking myself, when will one of the three judges, two of which hailed from the great state of South Carolina and even the one from the border state of Maryland, ask this attorney: “during so called Black History Month, did your clients educate your student populous about the role of the Black Confederate soldiers, or the role of the slave & freedman who gave their last penny to support the Confederate cause, or about the Black hands left on plantations to guard the mistress and her children from the hand of the invader, or about the skilled Black labor that worked in the Southern factories making the implements of war to keep the Southern armies supplied, or about those Black men who served as teamsters, cooks, blacksmiths, farriers, laborers, servants, and in many, many cases as the close friend to the White man he accompanied, or even of the many Black auxiliaries who would prove their worth in combat, even though by law, they could not be compelled to fight, or most importantly about the bond of love and affection between the Southern White and Southern Black man that transcended the economic institution of slavery”? No, not one Judge asked!
And it is unfortunate that most Americans, Black or White are completely ignorant of this view of Southern History, but not young Candice Hardwick. And this fact lay at the very foundation of Attorney Lyons argument (“Not At The Time Of Candice” ) . The so called smoking gun of the plaintiff’s attorney’s argument was that there had been violence or threats of in the 1980’s or early 90’s.(“Not at the time of Candice, argued Attorney Lyons “). Candice came along at a time when Black and White students had become use to having open dialogue and interaction with each other. And you better believe that she taught her Black friends just what the Public School System in the Latta school district and most school districts across the South and North would not. She told them about the northern policies of divide and conquer and how the economic strangulation of the South, and how the bribery of so called Black leaders had led the way to this divide. She taught them about Lincoln’s support, and signing of the Corwin Amendment which would have prevented Congress of ever passing an Amendment to end the economic institution of slavery, and most important that the men of the South had refused to agree with or accept it. She taught them about the Morrill tariff that Lincoln campaigned on and how it led the South to the moment of secession and the legality of that moment. And that she was proud of her ancestors who had made a stand against a tyrant who had illegally invaded all Southerners homeland whether they be free or indentured with only one purpose and that was to subjugate the Southern people as had a King.
The defense would then fall back on the testimony of the then Student Council Black President, (Ms. Angela Williams) who would remit a subjective testimony that the presence of the Confederate Battle Flag at Latta High School would cause disruptions and violence. And I might add overlooking the petitions of many of Candice’s Black friends in support of her stance and her wearing of Confederate symbols that did not offend them.
As a witness in several of the court cases that involved the Confederate Battle Flag, I have come to the conclusion that it matters not if no disruptions occurred (as outlined in Tinker) in these schools. The implied immunity granted by the judicial system to these administrators and teachers allow them to circumvent the law by dragging up any differences that have occurred between Blacks and Whites as racial, and drag the Southern Flag in as a catalyst to more future trouble. And this modus operandi works with most of the politically appointed judges who care nothing about the truth while aiding these people to continue to strip Southern Blacks away from the place of honor, dignity, and ownership they earned under the Southern Cross besides a man that they not only called Master, but family and friend.
I cringe at the thought that these judges in the 4th circuit will grant the National School Board complete authority over these matters with no oversight by the courts as they have asked for. It is bad enough that the courts have proved themselves to be hostile to the Confederate Flag, and have aided those who support them in stripping away the ownership that Black folks have in it, and their history of honorable service to their homeland, the south land of America.