A former Asheville, North Carolina NAACP President is walking through Florida for what he calls the “Southern Cross Revival March.”
H.K. Edgerton is marching through major cities in the South, rejecting accusations of racism as he walks. He normally wears a Confederate Army uniform, but Wednesday, Edgerton stopped in Tallahassee dressed in a polo shirt. He’s speaking out against state and local governments that are taking down Confederate emblems. And, Edgerton is black.
“Certainly I have been here trying to reach back for the honor that the African people earned before, during, and after the War for Southern Independence," he said.
Edgerton says he wants to shed light on the role that Southern African-Americans played during the Civil War. He says African Americans who fought for the Confederacy deserve to be recognized.
The role, reasons, and extent of black participation for the Confederacy is debated, but some African Americans did side with the South. It’s an issue that remains thorny, as Edgerton recently experienced in Jacksonville at a Confederate monument. He was confronted by what he says were members of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as fellow African Americans protesting his presence.
“They certainly challenged my presence and began to tell me that there was no honor for those Africans earned, as I was trying to tell them, in the War for Southern Independence. Ironically, when the Ku Klux Klan came, my black family made a 180 degree turn. They became just like their ancestors in that war. ‘HK has every right to be here, to carry that flag. There were black Confederate soldiers.’”
Edgerton’s views are controversial, but he says he’ll keep going. His next stop is Marianna. The Florida Senate removed the Confederate Flag from its seal earlier this year. Several Florida cities have done the same. South Carolina took down its Confederate Flag after a gunman killed several members of a black Charleston Church.