An Open Letter & Open Report – Strawberry Festival / King High School / Hillsborough County Commission
March 5, 2020
Strawberry Festival / King High School / Hillsborough County Commission
Dear Ms. Lunelle,
On Monday, March 2, 2020, don in the uniform of the Southern soldier with the Southern Cross in hand, alongside the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, members of their family and friends, I would step off with them in the annual Strawberry Festival Parade in Plant City, Florida.
Only once along the parade route would we face a negative comment that was directed towards me as our contingency was received with a hero’s welcome by the many who cheered, and shouted the Rebel Yell as our float moved along the parade route. It was a great day in Dixie!
On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, I would don the uniform of the Southern soldier and post the Southern Cross and my Black Confederate soldier poster board in the classroom of the Junior Reserve Officer Training class at King High School, Tampa, Florida as a part of their Black History Month celebrations.
And, for seven hours, I would take my babies down the road of history; the Morrill Tariff and the support of it by Lincoln as he campaigned for the Presidency; the first 13th Amendment and the implication that it had that would have kept the African people forever in the economic institution of slavery; and most importantly, the role that the Southern African played in support of their white family in the War for Southern Independence was the order of the day.
I would conclude my dissertation by telling those babies that to the Southern soldiers and their families, Red, Yellow, Black, Brown and White, that the Confederate Battle Flag symbolizes their Christian heritage and resistance to tyranny and, that now in the 21st century, there are many who, for political or economic gain, would rather see every memory and symbol of that noble army destroyed and desecrated.
HK Edgerton at King High School JROTC Class
And, the worse of it all is that there are still others who, though being descendants of those noble soldiers by their indifference and moral cowardice, would acquiesce to that destruction.
I can only thank the chief, his lieutenant, the principal, and all those wonderful babies who welcomed me into their school.
On Wednesday, March 4, 2020, alongside the Honorable Attorney, David McCallister, I would stand before the Hillsborough County Commissioners and deliver the following statement: “I am HK Edgerton, and I hail from the beautiful City of Asheville, North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, honorable members of the commission, I am so proud to be back in your beautiful city and state once again. I feel like I should leave a check somewhere because of all the fun I’ve had. And, I am so happy to be here in the month of my mom’s birthday as you celebrate Women’s History Month. My mom is the only black woman to ever receive a Confederate State Funeral. And, I want to thank the members of your police force that always make me feel safe as I stomp around so many of your events like the Strawberry Festival while don in the uniform of the Confederate soldier. And not to forget, King High School, who invited me in to speak to the Junior ROTC program as part of their Black History Month celebrations. My only regret, Mr. Chairman, is that I have not been able to attend Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church to hear your wonderful pastor preach, and to hear its angelic choir sing. And too, finally to meet an icon of your community, the county’s poet laureate, the Honorable James Tokley, is icing on the cake of my bucket list.” A round of applause would follow my remarks.
Mr. McCallister had earlier asked Mr. Tokley would he write a poem in honor of Confederate Memorial Day? His response was he would be glad to because it was a part of the American tradition. What a fine African American man was my thought as he joined the chief and his female lieutenant at King High to that role in my heart. God bless you!
Chairman, Board of Advisors Emeritus, Southern Legal Resource Center
Member, Save Southern Heritage Florida
Honorary Life Member, Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Honorary Life Member, Kentucky Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Honorary Life Member, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia Orders of the Confederate Rose
Recipient, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis Medal
President, Southern Heritage 411