It’s not just a matter of black and white.
A former president of the North Carolina NAACP – and one of the few African–American members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans – stood in front of a monument in Asheville, North Carolina, on Wednesday to tell those passing why he wanted the Confederate flag to continue to fly.
H.K. Edgerton stood waving the flag, telling anyone who would listen why he thought the Stars and Bars stood for something other than hate and racism. He said the flag is a symbol of the South’s struggle with civil rights over the last 150 years.
“Black folks earned a place of honor and dignity with this flag; black folks and white folks in southland America are family,” Edgerton said, according to WYFF.
Edgerton took up his post in front of the Confederate statue just hours after a “black lives matter” protester vandalized the monument. He had tough words for the vandals, who he said don’t understand the inclusive nature of Southerners.
“I’m not going to blame it on a Yankee, because I’ve seen some Southern folk around here that are real questionable too, that don’t know anything about who they are and their families and the honorable people in the southland of America,” Edgerton said
Wednesday wasn’t the first time Edgerton defended the Confederate flag. In 2002 he marched all the way to Texas to defend the flag as part of the South’s heritage.
“That was my message when I walked to Texas, that was my message when I walked to the White House, and it’s my message still,” he told WYFF.
Not everyone who heard his argument agreed. One passerby told WYFF that if people take offense to the flag, that should trump all other concerns.
“For some people, it represents the proud history of the past in the South, but it seems to me the offensive nature of it to people of African-American descent outweighs that,” said the passerby, adding that people shouldn’t “make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
But to Edgerton, the flag – and everything it represents – is part of being a Southerner.
“This is our flag,” he said.