An Open Letter & Open Report / The Return To Chapel Hill And Silent Sam / Good, Bad & Ugly
November 2, 2018
The Return To Chapel Hill And Silent Sam / Good, Bad & Ugly
Dear Ms. Lunelle,
Don in the uniform of the Southern soldier, on October 31, 2018, I would return to the University of Chapel Hill. As I made my way to the base of the Confederate soldiers Cenotaph of Silent Sam, I would be greeted by a university policeman, of who I had met before.
“Mr. Edgerton,” he exclaimed, “I just want you to feel safe as long as you are here. Folks have already been forewarned that it is alright to engage you in debate and dialogue. However, no one is to lay a hand on you in hostility. And, I assure you that I shall be watching as long as you are here.”
I would tell several students and members of the community gathered around me of just how proud I was of the Student Honor Committee’s ruling in regards to Maya Little, who had defaced the Cenotaph, and would receive no punishment or fine from a judicial system under Judge Cabe gone wrong.
I would liken the courage of the committee to that of the young men depicted in the Memorial of Silent Sam, who would leave their classrooms in order to afford their communities protection from a hoard army sanctioned by their Commander in Chief to carry out his barbaric orders of total warfare against defenseless old men, women and children.
Then would come a young black woman, who would ask of me, “Why would a black man in the 21st century be so brazen to enter a university campus wearing a Confederate uniform while brandishing a Confederate war flag?”
I told her for the same reasons that Horace King, Napoleon Nelson, Polk Arnold, Rev. Mack Lee, Levi Carnine, Holt Collier, Dr. Alexander Darnes, and so many other African men, and not to forget African women like Minerva Morgan, who was with the Honorable General John Hunt Morgan when he was assassinated in Greenville, Tennessee, and stood up to the Yankee soldiers when they tried to steal the General’s gold watch, and the red shoes he had given to her.
I stood as they did when our homeland and its people were attacked by an invading army. And that on this campus, the attack on Silent Sam was an attack on the South and its fallen heroes, and especially the efforts of the Southern women to memorialize the memory of these young men.
She told me that I probably didn’t have a pot to piss in, and couldn’t get a bottle of water from those standing around hugging on me. A young white girl would reach into her purse, hand me a twenty dollar bill, and tell me to please have lunch on her. Another young lady standing next to her would hand me a ten dollar bill, indicating that I should give it as a tip to whomever waited on me, because she knew that they would have a great sense of pride in me in my Confederate uniform, and in return give me great service. And with a look of consternation, the young black girl called me an “old fool,” and stormed away.
Later, as I stood talking with a middle aged white lady, a middle aged white man would come up, shouting to me; “Who the hell are you, and who do you represent?” My reply was, “And who are you? And evidently, you are not Southern because you lack the manners taught by Southern parents. You should have either waited until the discussion between this young lady and I ended, or at the very least, said excuse me, and waited for a reply that would have allowed you in our conversation.” “F__k you,” was his reply as he too stormed off. The young lady stood shaking her head in disbelief, and asked the blessing of God upon me as she left some twenty minutes or so later.
As I stood talking with several young white men, of whom were more interested in promoting the idea that the Southern politicians who had skirted with the idea of nullification would have carried out an illegal act, just as they did with secession proclaiming that the Morrill Tariff as supported by Lincoln, or the so called tariffs of Abomination did not justify them leaving the Union illegally. No matter the arguments I put forward on the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, or the Virginia or Kentucky Resolutions, they continued to argue that entering the Union was a for ever proposition.
As this debate continued, a middle aged black woman came up and started taking pictures of me. When I turned to look at her, she said “Don’t mind me. I’m just taking pictures of you with that redneck flag.” I told her it was a black neck, brown neck, and white neck flag as well. She turned hostile, tooting up her behind while patting it at me. The young men looked mortified to see an elderly woman so put herself in dishonor as she continued to pat her rear end as she walked away.
I would find myself in conversation with a young male student from Illinois who had an ancestor who fought on the Union side. He could not find a way to agree with me that this great war came about because of economics and State sovereignty. I told him that the South fought to have the Republic that is no more. And for any people of this nation not to recognize that the people of the South were great Patriots, then and now. And don’t deserve any down play on the courageous stand they made against an invading army, and the overwhelming odds against them and their families.
And, furthermore, I would tell him, be they ancestors of the Southern Africans, freed or indentured, they should have a great sense of pride in the contributions their ancestors gave in support of the Confederate cause, and to the building of this nation, and arguably those of Europe and elsewhere.
I told this young man that the love that so many of these babies called Silent come from a woman they called “Mammie”, and her son, they called family and friend, who like so many, were away fighting, and the babies so called Silent Sam would save the day from the evil that was soon to come.
I would be asked to stay another day and do an In-house Studio taped interview, but could not. I would thank the police officer who watched over me the entire time of my stay. I was somewhat saddened that the teachers who had classes of babies going to and fro behind from where I stood, did not bring them over to have conversation with the black Confederate soldier they so bravely waved at, and pointed out. God bless you!
Chairman, Board of Advisors Emeritus, Southern Legal Resource Center
Honorary Life Member, Augusta Jane Evans Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy
Honorary Life Member, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia Orders of the Confederate Rose
Member, Save Southern Heritage Florida
President, Southern Heritage 411