Ex-NAACP president celebrates Confederate roots

Posted: Friday, January 21, 2011

By Deborah Deggs Cariker
Special to the Courier

APRIL SOUND – H.K. Edgerton is a man who loves God, un-revised American and Southern history and the Confederate flag.

He also is a black man – one who knows his pro-Southern views make him unpopular in some circles. But, he doesn’t care much about his popularity.

Edgerton, 62, a Baptist preacher’s son, is from Asheville, N.C. and will be the guest speaker at today’s Confederate Heroes’ Day Cotillion at the April Sound Country Club, where he plans to educate cotillion belles and guests “not only of the great white men who fought and died for their Southland, but also of the black men like Napoleon Nelson, Holt Collier, Levi Carnine and the Rev. Mack Lee, and not to forget the honorable black women who also proudly contributed in a major way to the Confederate cause.”

Edgerton, ousted from his presidency of the Ashville NAACP when he joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans, became a national figure in 2002 by walking from his hometown to Austin carrying the Confederate Battle Flag, the flag he reveres as the flag of the Christian cross of St. Andrew.

The fourth annual cotillion festivities, sponsored by Granbury’s Texas Brigade – Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Camp 1479, and Montgomery Rose Chapter 47 of the Order of Confederate Rose, include live period-correct music, silent and live auctions and “elegant Southern dining.” The party is from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit college scholarships, preserving battlefields and providing markers for Confederate graves.

“Here’s what you tell my Texas family,” he instructed in an early morning, long-distance phone call. “I’m coming to celebrate the lives of those honorable folks in the southern end of America. They were invaded. They were raped and robbed and murdered – black and white. Then, those folks who won wrote a book, and they came to the South, and those people then taught school, and they’ve done all they can to set our family against itself. That’s what we are – black and white, who fought for the Confederacy. We are family.”

When Edgerton talks about his Southern family being black and white, that’s exactly what he means – collectively, as in every Southerner, and personally, in his own family. Yes, H.K. Edgerton is a descendant of a black slave bought and owned by a white Southern family.

Why, then, belong to the SCV or defend that contentious flag? Surely anything Confederate is pro-racism and hate. Edgerton snickered.

“I’m proud of my Confederate soldier ancestor, not to say bone-tired of the politically correct denial that there were black Confederates,” he chided. “My grandfather served as a surgeon’s aide with Dr. Thomas Edgerton Frady of the 34th North Carolina Confederate Regiment of the Confederate Army. Why did he fight? For the same reason Southern whites fought for it: Because his homeland was being invaded. Whether slave or free, like the nine out of 10 whites who owned no slaves, the South was his country, too.”

The retired engineer affirms slavery was not exclusive to the South or to the United States and says slaves knew that. Edgerton never is on record minimizing slavery nor saying slavery was good or that every slave owner was kind.

After Edgerton’s walk to Texas, his mother had him pull her own Confederate flag out of her chiffarobe.

“I never have condoned the use of my flag and my grandfather’s flag as a hateful device,” he said. “It is a symbol of the heritage left to me by my Confederate ancestor. Why can’t I be proud of his service to his country? When I walked to Texas, the deeper I traveled in the south, more black people came out to recall history, to talk about their heritage and their love for the south, all the black men who played a part in the war. It baffles me how you can talk about Black History Month and not Confederate History Month.”

As part of his mission to re-educate on the topic of Southern history and to give honor to black Confederates, Edgerton started Southern Heritage 411 Inc., a corporation founded to inform the public about Southern Heritage from the perspective of the hundreds of thousands of black people who love and support the South, its people, its customs and its history. Edgerton is its president. Its website is www.SouthernHeritage411.com.

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