By: Catherine Hunter
Waving a St. Andrews Cross Confederate battle flag, noted Confederate historian H.K. Edgerton stood on a Waynesville street corner last week. Edgerton spoke to all who would listen about the truth of what the flag stands for and the misuse of black Americans in propaganda against Southern heritage.
Reports say a Jackson County attorney demanded removal of a confederate battle flag from the Confederate war memorial on the Haywood County courthouse grounds. Edgerton and members of local Southern heritage groups said this was a desecration of the war memorial and asked the flag be replaced.
“Every monument on the courthouse [Haywood County] has the colors of its soldiers,” said Edgerton. “Stealing my flag and desecrating this war memorial is not right.”
According to Sons of Confederate Veterans member Derrick Shipman, they have placed the Confederate colors on the memorial every year during the month of May to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day.
“We used to fly the First National flag [Confederate flag] from the flag pole until the trees grew up and blocked it,” said Shipman.
Shipman along with several others attended the August 20 Haywood County Board of Commissioners meeting to ask the board to allow the Confederate flag to be displayed during May. The board voted to remove all flags, signs, symbols and postings except state and federal flags until they could study the issue further.
Haywood Board of Commissioners Vice Chairman J.W. Kirkpatrick III said he appreciated the position of those supporting the display of the flag, but was concerned the issue could become a problem of maintenance and expense for the county and the tax payers. Kirkpatrick said it could set a precedent of allowing other symbols on county property.
Haywood Board of Commissioners Chairman Mark S. Swanger said he was confident they would have a policy developed by the September meeting. Meanwhile Edgerton, who was on his way to speak in Florida and could not attend the meeting, continues his efforts to educate people about the misuse of the Confederate flags and the propaganda and lies told about the war and Southern heritage.
“For far too long, black folks have been the weapon of choice by enemies of the South,” Edgerton said. “The only man in America who cared about the black man was the Southern white man.”
Edgerton explained that while northerners imported slaves and practiced segregation and welfare, southerners offered blacks the opportunity to work and earn their land through sharecropping.
“If it wasn’t for sharecroppers offering us land, we’d [blacks after the Civil War] would have been charged with vagrancy. We had no where to go,” he said.
Edgerton said many people had told him that Haywood County residents were bigoted and resentful of blacks, but that he had received nothing but love from the people of Waynesville. He added that standing on the corner holding the flag inspired people to share their own stories.
“I learn so much on the streets,” Edgerton said. “People share the stories of their ancestors, their letters and rare books, both black and white [people].”
It was ten years ago this October when Edgerton made his historic walk to Texas carrying the St. Andrews Cross. Since then he has traveled the country standing up for Southern heritage and rights and telling the truth to whoever would listen. Edgerton is planning one more trip to Texas to mark the ten-year anniversary, then says he will most likely retire from the public eye.
Contact information for the County Commissioners mentioned:
MARK S. SWANGER, Chairman
J. W. “KIRK” KIRKPATRICK, III, Vice Chairman
Phone: 828-452-0801 (w)
If you wish to contact HK Edgerton, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org