An Open Letter & Call for Support (March to the White House)
On November 8, 2004, I would write a letter to President George Bush asking for a meeting to discuss ways of achieving social justice for my Southern family who find themselves the victims of a prejudice and discrimination like no other allowed or found in America. I speak of the complete destruction of my people’s culture and their right to honor their ancestors and remember them not in shame for the honorable defense of their homeland during the period of the War Between the States and the symbol of their soldiers, the Confederate Battle Flag.
I had the opportunity at a Town Hall meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina after crawling out onto the second floor railing of the balcony to secure the President’s attention, and have this aforementioned letter placed in his hand and garnered a promise from him that he would read it.
On June 20, 2005, as I made my way on a March from Johnson City, Tennessee to Maryville, Tennessee in support of the students of Maryville and Blount County High Schools and their honorable stand to have the bans lifted that removed the Southern Cross from their perspective schools, I would receive a letter from Ms. Melissa S. Bennett, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Appointments and Scheduling. The letter read: Dear Mr. Edgerton: Thank you for your letter in which you request an appointment with the President. The President would appreciate an opportunity to visit with you. Regrettably, it will not be possible for us to arrange such a meeting. (This would remind me of the peace delegation that Lincoln had rebuffed from the South.) I know that you will understand that, with the tremendous demands on his time and large volume of similar requests, personal appointments are extremely difficult to schedule, even though each one is important. I know that the President would want me to thank you for your request to include him in your plans and to send his very best wishes. The President would shortly after have a basketball team, American Idol participants and similar others meet with him in the White House.
Last year, my baby brother (Terry Lee) and I left the beautiful Dixie Outfitters store in Madison Heights, Virginia on the March Across Virginia, heading for the White House to once again seek from this man whose very own image had been tarnished by the removal of the Southern Plaques from the Supreme Court Building in Austin, Texas in the dark of the night in shame by his then gubernatorial staff. As Providence would have it, this March would come to a halt some 89 miles from the Capitol just outside Charlottesville, Virginia.
On Tuesday, November 8, 2008, I would write a similar letter to the now President-Elect, Barack H. Obama, similar to the one written to President George W. Bush defining an injustice perpetuated against the Sons of the Southern soldier and his flag. I again pleaded for an act of reconcilement by asking him to invite a contingent of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Color Guard to his Inauguration.
On Thursday, January 15, 2009, I propose to begin from the location where the March Across Virginia was halted and begin marching ten miles a day until January 19, 2009, ironically not only the day before the Inauguration, but also on the day in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the Honorable General Robert E. Lee would be born. I shall arrive with great expectations that one man leaving the White House and one entering it shall both commit an honorable act that will be momentous in the healing of a nation that still remains historically and culturally divided. Any contributions for this planned March can be made directly to Southern Heritage 411. May God bless you all.
Southern Heritage 411