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Thursday, September 27, 2012

H.K. Edgerton, the Black Confederate

Quite a few years ago I saw a peculiar sight.  Me and my wife were driving through Sylva, NC and spotted an African-American man was walking down the sidewalk carrying a Confederate Flag.  My wife did a dangerous u-turn and I quickly snapped a picture of him as he rolled up his flag, got in a Van and disappeared.


After asking around I found that this man was H.K. Edgerton, an usual and controversial local figure.

A few years later I was innocently watching the local Christmas parade, flanking Santa Claus was H.K. Edgerton.  This time I chased him down on foot and introduced myself.  He happily posed for a picture.



So, who is this walking contradiction of a man?  Believe it or not H.K. Edgerton was previously the president of Asheville, NC chapter of the NAACP.  But at some point H.K. had a change in philosophy.  Edgerton became an activist whose primary purpose was to defend the confederate flag.  Edgerton has gone on marches to Texas and to D.C. trying to promote his Southern Heritage.  Every time there is a local controversy involving the Confederate Flag the newspaper lets Edgerton give his two cents.



The truly disturbing part is when you venture over to Edgerton.'s website.  Edgerton disputes that Slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War.  Even more troubling, Edgerton defends slavery, painting the relationship between slaves and their owners as harmonious and loving.  He also claims that African Americans fought for the confederacy, which is a questionable claim.  From what I have read, they were not allowed to be soldiers, but did have roles where they assisted on the battlefield.

One would wonder what would make a man seemingly betray his own heritage.  Well, take a look at THIS.  It turns out that at the events that H.K. attends he is not simply showing up at over a sense of confederate unity.  H.K. charges an appearance fee.  H.K. charges a 20,000 dollar appearance fee, plus mileage.

So, is Edgerton for real?  People who knew him as a NAACP president have expressed shock over his recent shift in views.  Does Edgerton really believe what he preaches, or is he cynically selling himself to Confederate apologists as a way to erase their guilt?  Maybe he laughs his way to the bank.

Anyway you look at it, Edgerton is a true Southern Enigma.

The Carpetbagger.



39 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. BTW, I will show up at a neo-confederate rally wearing anything you want for 20,000 dollars :)

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  2. Maybe they pay in Confederate dollars?

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  3. Disturbing? Slavery may have been "the" cause of the war, but in an economic sense, not a moral one. Great blog, btw.

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    1. Its complicated. The short answer is "slavery", but it is not a simple issue. Racism is a world wide problem, and the North doesn't exactly have an excellent humanitarian record, just ask the Indians........

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    2. Evadwall...history tells us virtually all wars are not moral but about money and power. Either trying to gain it or be free from the oppression of power.

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  4. Obviously northern history has been used in your education. Yes, the victor has the privilege to write history, and I too was taught that in school.
    Despite being raised in yankeeland, I am a product of a mixed marriage. North AND South.
    After doing my own research over the years, I made MY choice. Mr. Edgarton has done his too.
    That's why today you can find both of us on the side of those who fought for their homes and way of life against the northern aggressors.
    I won't go in to it here but your incorrect assumptions come from a distorted view of history, my friend.
    Hopefully you will do some real research if YOUR heritage is important to you.

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    1. Please, by all means, go into it here. If you feel that I have said something inaccurate please say so. I believe that the civil war was very complicated, I feel it was a rich mans war fought by the poor on both sides. That being said, slavery really really sucked and its a very good thing that the war ended this rotten institution. My main source of dismay of Mr. Edgarton is that he explicitly defends the institution of slavery. That is something I hope you do not buy into.

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    2. The"Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union" issued by that state's secession convention states that "the non-slaveholding States... have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection."

      So I guess that the elected leaders of South Carolina had a distorted, Yankee view of history too? Either the elected leaders of the secession movement were lying about their cause, or the 21st century apologists for their cause are lying now. Not a very difficult dilemma, choosing between those two options.

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  5. Over 200,000 confederate men, black and white, did not sign up to fight for the rights of the white slave-owners to own their slaves. They didn't fight for the negro slave-owners either. Slavery was one of those 'rights' at the time, but the main reason they fought was because they felt that their allegiance was to the land they lived on, not a 'nation' that, while a part of, was not a firm and definite thing in their lives. They did not have GPS, they did not have nationwide news to show and prove to them that where they lived, and the states that govern their lives and where their families lived was the wrong place to hang their allegiance. They saw the coming of the north as an invasion coming to force them to accept the laws of government perceived as being far away. This was not far removed from the beliefs that lead up to the American Revolution.

    Over 300,000 union men did not die to free the slaves. The, mostly the men of states considered central to the Revolution and closer to the hand of the federal government, living almost as often in towns and cities as in the country, saw more of the national being that was the United States at that time. The early volunteers did so to put down a rebellion in the south. This was, in fact, an invasion of lands that had voluntarily separated themselves from the union. (There is plenty of argument over whether the southern states had the right to remove themselves, and I think a firm argument exists that the original state government who joined the union did so with the implied 'right' to leave the union should it prove to no longer suit the will of the state's people.) After the Emancipation Proclamation (which was a useless piece of paper, in a legal sense) was signed, there was a large number of recorded desertions and a large drop in the number of volunteers (arguably, being the second year of the war, low volunteer rates was not unusual, except these rates were even lower.) Union men, by and large, did NOT consider themselves fighting to free the slaves. They fought to preserve the union.

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    1. The idea of "signing up" is a bit overstated as every able bodied man North or South was required to fight. The fact of the matter is that the war was fought over a state's right to own slaves. If you ask the question "Why did THEY fight?", with THEY referring to the soldiers the answer is "Because they were made to by their respective governments". However, no soldier wants to believe that they are fighting for nothing. It wouldn't make sense for a poor confederate soldier fighting for a rich man's slaves. Therefore they would use pride of their homeland and their feelings that they were defending against an invading army.

      The war may not have been started to "free the slaves", but it was definitely started because of slavery. The balance between free and slave states was always in jeopardy. This balance was important because if the scales were tipped it could lead to either slavery becoming legal or illegal in the entire country. This boiling point eventually led to the explosion that caused the civil war.

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    2. Slight correction for Jacob. Rich white planters and large slave owners were exempt from the draft and service. That's why Nathan Bedford Forrest is such an exceptional example. He volunteered, but didn't particularly like slavery any more than the average person.

      So a rich man's war, is very accurate. A war by politicians. People can fight for personal reasons, but that doesn't mean that joining the Nazis or the Communists in Cuba creates a grand cause for good.

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    3. What part are you correcting?

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  6. Beyond the reasons for individuals to fight, there is also the fact that slavery was never safer, than in the year 1860. The original 13th Amendment, that was not passed due to the Civil War was intended to protect slavery forever. Lincoln stated in his First Inaugural Address that he had "no objection to its being made express and irrevocable". (http://ghostamendment.com/) Start here.

    The war was NOT about slavery, even though my state, South Carolina, expressly used it in its proclamation of secession.

    The war began as the act of a nation trying in the worse way to stop itself from fracturing. Slavery was never an official cause of war, and even in the late war, union men were fighting to keep the union together, while confederate men fought against what they felt was an invasion force by people 'far away' who came down here to force the will of a distant government on their families and friends.

    And if you do the research, you'll find plenty of evidence for the existence of willing black confederates, as well as black slave-owners, who felt they had just as much to lose to an invading United States. My county alone saw 30 black men volunteer for, and fight in, the confederate army. Their records are found in unit musters in the local courthouse. I saw an argument one time that the number of black in the confederate army could not have been more than 200. In that case, over 10% came from my little county alone.

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    1. I find the argument that the war was not "about slavery" to be ridiculous. The nation fractured because of the slavery debate. Why else would the split occur between free states and slaves states? The "states rights" argument gets brought up, but the fact of the matter is that the South was fighting for a state's right to keep slaves. There was no other issues of states right presented during the war.

      Rank and file confederates may not have seen themselves as fighting for slavery, but rank and file confederates are not the ones who decided national policy.

      I have done research and what I came up with was that "black confederates" were generally not soldiers, but rather put into a subservient role in assissting white troops.

      And again, using the term "volunteer" is probably not fair as no one that fought in the Civil War really had a choice in the matter.

      Slavery was completely evil and it is a blessing that is was ended by the Civil War. At the same time I don't think this makes the South an evil place. Humanity has a long history of slavery, racism and general mistreatment of other humans. Slavery was at one time legal in all of America and there were plenty of northerners profiteering off of it.

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    2. Greyman says "slavery was never an official cause of the war." Since he admits to reading the South Carolina Declaration of causes, this statement cannot be one of ignorance. He is simply lying.

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  7. HK Edgerton, whom I have met and spoke with, does not strike me as a nut, he is quite intelligent, and at the location I met him, where he spoke and was well-known, he was not paid to come, he did so on his own accord. He is poetic, he is rather zealous, but he is not, in my opinion, crazy. People think he is because they fail to do research outside the bounds of mainstream education... and, even worse, mainstream word of mouth.
    Every time I see a black man or woman state anything even close to what HK does (and very few do) I see a huge outpouring of abuse spit on them, by both blacks, and uninformed whites. The evidence is there, but it's been left out of public (and private) schools because of political correctness. A classic case of the victor writing history. There is a quote by a confederate general named Patrick Cleburne, it's subject is subjugation. He is a good place to start if you want a understanding of history. And he is a prime example of a mostly forgotten great man of the Civil War.

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    1. I support Mr. Edgerton's right to express his views and opinions. I just feel that he is promoting an over simplified sugar coated view of the war and slavery. Edgarton has talked about slavery not being that bad. The fact of the matter is that slavery was even worse then most people think. Human beings forced into working for no money, routinely beaten and raped. It was a sick sick practice that should never be offended.

      History is complex. It is not fair to paint the North as gallant knights rushing to free the slaves, but at the same time it is just as ignorant to paint the South as heroes.

      My main problem with Edgarton is that I simply believe what he says is inaccurate. In writings and interviews I have seen him do nothing but spread nonsense. When I first became aware of him I was intrigued by what he had to say. I was dissapointed when I found out that the answer was: not much.

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  8. I do apologize for this being so long, but it is, and will always be, a complex topic.

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    1. Greyman, You make some excellent points. I would like to add two things to this conversation. 1) Thomas DiLorenzo's "The Real Lincoln" brings out some of the real issues of the time that are forgotten or ignored by the history writers of the victorious north. 2) If it were really about slavery, then why is it that the north never boycotted slave grown cotton?

      Jacob, you make a good rebuttal but your assumptions that slavery is what started the civil war are far reaching and missing of too many issues of the time. 1) Research what the Morrill Tariff did to the southern economy 2) How did Lincoln come into power? By promising northern businessmen that greater taxation on the south would be spent on northern infrastructure ... Lastly, why is it wrong for HK Edgerton to accept appearance fees to speak. This is the USA and it is legal to speak for a fee. Every one of our Presidents goes on speaking tours for much larger amounts of money...

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    2. Its a very nuanced thing, but it does all come back to slavery. If you were trying to boil it down to its essence, the war was caused over the spreading of slavery into new states in territories. Just as I will not make excuses for the South and the evils of slavery, there isn't a huge amount of moral high ground for the North to stand on. Initially slave states that stayed loyal to the Union (such as Kentucky) keep their slaves after emancipation. Lincoln himself stated that preserving the union was far more important then freeing the slaves.

      I absolutely feel that Edgarton should be able to charge a fee for speaking. I just raises questions about his true motivations. I support anyone in this countries right to speak out, even if I don't agree with what they have to say.

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    3. Jacob, The very essence of the civil war was NOT SLAVERY and this is why! You are correct that there were limitations for slavery moving west into new territories. That is not anti-slavery. That is pro-north. The difference is that since the southern economy was slave based it then allows the north to take the west. Slave owners in the south weren't worried about not moving or growing slavery to the west. Slave owners were concerned about the tax hikes caused by the Morrill Tariff. This Tariff increases taxes from 17% to 26% once Lincoln came in and as high as over 40% during the next few years. The object of this tariff was to make the south buy goods from the north instead of England. England purchased over 80% of cotton grown in the south so it was very natural for the south to buy many goods from England. The Morrill Tariff drove many southern non slave owners out of business thus the overwhelming support for succession. Lincoln needed to keep the union intact in order to collect these higher taxes that he promised to his supporters. The civil war was the worst way to end slavery. 630K lives! 30K of which were free blacks.

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    4. If we could have ended slavery without a war that would be much better, but do you really see that happening?

      Please understand, I am not preaching that the North was some noble force set out to free slaves, but whatever the motivations the wedge issue was slavery..........Please explain why one side was slave states and the other was non-slave states..........SLAVERY DIVIDED THEM. Slavery slavery slavery slavery......you can rattle on all day, but the dividing issue was slavery. Slavery was evil and we are all fortunate that it was whipped away.

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    5. Jacob, You are assuming that the laws and morals of the 1700 and 1800's were what we know today. Ask yourself, what would you do if you inherited slaves? You can't set the them free. It's the way the world worked. Clearly, the nation had a cultural divide and in the differing cultures, slavery is a major difference but that doesn't explain why the Civil War started. Why did the north NEVER boycott slave grown cotton? Why didn't the north offer to buy off slaves? Why weren't there any public policies to buy out slaves? WHY? Because the north didn't care about slaves. The north wanted more tax revenue! Read the details of the Morrill Tariff! Look how many southern families that Tariff put in financial hardship! We are all glad slavery is no more in this country but the civil war was the worst way to end it. The living standards of ex slaves went down after the civil war not up. The issues between white and black in the south got worse not better. Historians have re written Civil War history to make the north look nobel and righteous. Slavery existed in the north. The north owned all the ships that brought slaves from Africa. Look at the racism blacks faced in the north. You are making Civil War history to be too simple for moral outrage of what slavery was.

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    6. Hey, blacks have been treated like shit through our nations history. Immediately following the war blacks in the south were terrorized and murdered by the kkk in order to keep them in a subservient role.

      Slavery was evil and it is a cop out to say that it was the morals of a different time, it is horrendous and nearly unimaginable that people in this country ever thought it was okay.

      I fail to see how I am simplifying things, you can got in depth with the economics of everything, but slavery was the catalyst.

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    7. "Slave owners were concerned about the tax hikes caused by the Morrill Tariff."

      Since the first seven states to secede did so before the Morrill Tariff passed and in fact could not have passed since Democrats controlled the senate untilthose states' senators walked out, and since Virginia voted strongly against secession AFTER it passed, the claim that the southern states walked out over high tariffs is rather obvious bovine excrement.

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  9. Jacob, no one is saying slavery was a good thing. It's a big part of human history all around the world. In some places it still exists but the developed world has passed that era. You say blacks have been treated poorly in the USA, you are correct but when asked would you rather be the descendant of black American who was enslaved or a descendant of a black African who was not enslaved, the answer may be puzzling. I will agree with you in that the best thing that happened from the Civil War was the ending of Slavery but this ending made many things worse for those who it was intended to help. There were many better ways to end slavery. Just last night I was researching Nathan Bedford Forrest and H.K. Edgerton was correct about this man and his affiliation with the KKK. It's nice to make the Civil War/Slavery issue so nice and pure but it's a very complex issue. Overall, you fail to prove how the civil war started over slavery. 1) No boycott 2) No mention of how to make slaves free 3) Destruction of the south 4) Slavery wasn't even mentioned until 2 years into the war 5) Read Lincoln's statements about colonizing southern slaves somewhere else. 6) The more you study Lincoln, the more you will find out he was the worst president in our history.

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    1. CA2TX said "slavery wasn't even mentioned until 2 years into the war."

      The ignorance of Confederate apologists who say things like this is appalling. Slavery was mentioned in the official declarations of causes of secession -- mentioned about 80 times, in fact. It was mentioned in Lincoln's 1st inaugural address, when he stated that "one section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute." It was mentioned by Alec Stephens in his cornerstone speech. It was mentioned by some Union generals who started sheltering fugitive slaves under the "contraband of war" theory in the summer of 1861. It was mentioned by the federal congress, which gave the "contraband" policy force of law in the Confiscation Acts of 1861 and 1862. Also by the same congress which abolished slavey in the western territories and District of Columbia, and at Lincoln's urginf offered compensation to any loyal state which would abolish slavery.

      By pretending that the Emancipation was the ONLY anti-slavery action of the war, or at least the first one, as CA2TX does, Confederate apologists distort and misrepresent history. In short, all you Lost Causers, we're not going to take you at all seriously if you keep on lying (or, at best, uncritically repeating the obvious lies of others).

      (Official causes of secession here: http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html )

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  10. Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, there were black Confederate soldiers.

    http://deadconfederates.com/2012/12/16/pension-records-for-louis-napoleon-nelson/

    Also, to discount the opinions of the regular folk or rural populace, especially in the red clay regions of one-mule farms is itself a discriminatory and borderline racist, cultural, and ethnic attack espousing a leftist critical theory based doctrine that only the small monied elite's ideas represented the core Southern beliefs and norms. It is a politicized 'labeling' and promotes an elitist class theory with little to no regard of the actualities of life for the majority of Southerners, period.

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  11. Jacob, first, cooks are just as much a part of the military as are others. Demeaning a dead black man is not noble. I read the USA/CSA discussion above. I also read other parts of your blog. In your defamation of Ken Hamm, you defame yourself. Whether Ken Hamm fled from the assertions of a pop scientist or not, I would not know, but you characterized Hamm as crying Bible, Bible, Bible when he was unable to defend himself from the pop-science of Bill Nye. This technique may or may not be true of Hamm, but it is certainly true of you . In the above discussion you were challenged, more than once, to respond to several excellent points. In each case, you fled from the challenge saying Slavery, Slavery, Slavery. I think your idea for a blog is a good one, yet you soil it with arrogance. Whether Christians, Edgerton, or Southerners, you show no respect. No one is bettered by stepping on others.

    You failed from the start in taking the name "carpetbagger". You preach to the choir about the ills of slavery, but you do so having chosen for yourself the moniker given those who are among the most despicable, vile, morally-corrupt persons in history... the carpetbagger. You wear it like a badge of honor but it is a shameful name to bear. Here is a link that will help you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpetbagger.

    Slavery is bad, but carpetbaggers paid freedmen such low wages they became economic slaves. They looted, pillaged, exploited, raped, and extorted the South and its people, both black and white. Have you really thought through naming yourself, The Carpetbagger?

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    1. First of all, I took the name "Carpetbagger" as a way of "taking back the term" after being called a one as a serious insult. Its also a tongue-in-cheek self deprecating way to refer to myself, being a sheltered suburban midwesterner living in the South,

      Louis Nelson was a cook in the military. And YES, all parts of the military are necessary for the machine to run. But the fact of the matter is that blacks were not allowed for fight for the Confederacy for whatever reason. So yes, he COOKED for the confederacy, but he did not fight for the confederacy, and there is no evidence that any black man ever did.

      I am not above admitting that the Civil War is a complex discussion, what bothers me is when people try to white wash the role that slavery played (That role being MASSIVE). I lay out my views (aka: facts) on the Civil War in this video. I encourage you to check it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDESsTudn6k&list=UUv_iDwcZUJH66i_QWpT_mqQ

      As for Ken Hamm. That debate was TERRIBLE. Mr. Hamm seemed completely unprepared and was not able to counterpoint anything Nye threw out at him. The thing is, I believe you CAN make a fairly reasonable argument towards creationism, but Hamm did not such thing. He simply said the Bible was true and anything that contradicts it must be wrong. Having been to Hamm's museum, I know that his views are fairly far out there, such as his belief that Dinosaurs rode on Noah's ark.

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  12. For one thing, the secession was actually legal. The North fought the South only to preserve the Union. Robert E. Lee had a higher regard to African Americans than Lincoln did, in fact him and Stonewall Jackson both described slavery as a "moral and political evil". Seventy-five percent of white Southern families did not own slaves. Not all blacks in the South were slaves, about ten percent of blacks in the Upper South were free and made their living as laborers or small tradesmen. Less than two percent of blacks in the Deep South were free, but they tended to be rich and own slaves themselves. If there had been no Civil War, the South would have abolished slavery peaceably (as every other country in the Western Hemisphere did in the nineteenth century). I'de rather be historically accurate than politically correct. That is why historians say if you don't remember history, you are bound to repeat it.

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    1. I would like to believe that slavery would have ended on its own, but it was a true evil and its good that the civil war ended it

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  13. You were disappointed because it's not what you wanted to hear especially from a Blackman.

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    1. I'm disappointed because its not true!

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  14. Seriously, Jacob, you need to speak to Arlene Barnum. She's easy to find on Facebook. She's a black Confederate who has a black ancestor who was from either Louisiana or Mississippi, and was a Confederate Veteran. I think she can effectively put any questions to rest about this whole matter. She's pretty awesome, if you ask me. She and Anthony Hervey were involved in an accident (they were run off the road by radicals) after a flag rally. She suffered injury (broken leg, I believe) and Hervey died as a result of his injuries. She was a card carrying member of the NAACP and was a president as well. She burned her card at one of the rallys. If you're truly intrigued by the southern culture, please check her out. Also, look at Andrew Duncomb, another black Confederate. These are intelligent people and are very much a part of defending the flag.

    One thing you haven't considered, Jacob, is the fact that where I live, there are slaves and masters buried together. They weren't really slaves so much as family members.
    Northerners didn't understand this. They had slaves themselves, but chose to see the South as being the evil ones. The soldiers from the North burned, raped and pillaged whites and blacks. There are letters and articles about the devils from the North coming down and destroying everything anyone had, including the blacks who were in residence here.
    One more thing, H K Edgerton is for real. He's not misguided. Keep this in mind: The victor writes the history.

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    1. You're 100% right. The union army, Lincoln and his cabinet didn't give a damn about the slaves. They just used it as a tool of war. These same union generals, Sherman, Custer, Sheridan, Crook, Howard, Miles, etc. all committed crimes and genocide against the native Americans and all under the Stars and Stripes. Who are they and the rest of the Yankees to condemn the South and the use of the confederate battle flag? Slaves were treated by many as extended family by their masters. Of course their was brutality committed against some slaves by some masters because you're dealing with human nature and not all people are the same, some people are nice and some are mean but many slaves remained with their former masters after the war and treated fair.

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