A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A GOOD AMERICAN

H. K. Edgerton and the Pursuit of Truth

Mike Scruggs

August 19, 2005

“A few days ago I had lunch with H. K. Edgerton at Hannah Flanagan’s Pub in Hendersonville, North Carolina.  H. K., as almost everyone calls him, is a graying, 56-year-old African-American whose photo often appears in the news.  In fact, his photo was on the front page of The Asheville Tribune that very day.  What is remarkable to some is that very often he is carrying a Confederate Battle Flag, defending Confederate monuments or Confederate heritage.  H. K. is Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Southern Legal Resource Center, but it would be a serious mistake to think that was all he is about.  He is very knowledgeable on a very wide variety of political and social issues.

“H. K. had the chicken wings, a favorite dish for him.  I had the shepherd’s pie.  One of the things I like about Hannah Flanagan’s is that they have a good choice of authentic Irish meals on their menu.  One of the things I like about H. K. is that he himself is an authentic Southern style, American patriot.

“H. K. is an energetic advocate of truth and right.  It might seem strange to some that a former NAACP officer speaks so fervently for Confederate heritage.  But H. K. is not bound by the chains of political correctness.  He is a zealous advocate of truth, wherever it is found and however unpopular.

“H. K.’s internal drive seems to be based on a strong belief in the transcendent and eternal truths taught in Scripture.  The outward manifestation of that faith is his zealous drive for truth in all things, including history.  His zeal for truth in all things often brings strong opposition, but he persists with courage and grace.  Truth is not a popularity contest to him.  He possesses that remarkable, all-weather brand of courage without which no other virtue can long survive.

“H. K. was using a cane that day.  He had just returned from Memphis where there has been a political attack on Southern heritage centering on Confederate monuments in Memphis parks.  During his travel through Tennessee he hurt his leg and back mowing a lady’s lawn.  That in itself is a portrait of H. K.  He is filled with a courageous zeal for truth, but he is the soul of grace, compassion, courtesy, and helpfulness.  He is in every respect the model of the Christian gentleman whose devotion to duty, honor, courage, grace, and selfless patriotism Robert E. Lee sought to instill in his students as Superintendent at West Point before the Civil War and as President of Washington and Lee after the war.

“H. K. and I talked about a lot of things from home-schooling, property rights, the Constitution, and the moral tailspin of American society to the tidal wave of illegal immigration that is engulfing the Carolinas and other Southern states.  He is saddened that many black leaders have chosen to preach victimhood and aggravate racial grievances in the name of justice and that so many white business and political leaders kowtow to them.  At the same time he mourns that most public schools have distorted Southern history so much that young students are ashamed of their Southern heritage.  Every day brings forth some new instance of the very descendents of Confederate soldiers and patriots trampling the honor and courage of their forefathers to the ground to gain respectability with the vicious slanderers of Southern heritage.  Such is the advanced state of political correctness even in the South.  Of course, political correctness is not about the truth.  It is about shouting down the truth, and it feeds on an environment of obsequious moral cowardice.  

“H. K. Edgerton doesn’t put on any righteous or self-important airs.  He is as human and vulnerable to human frailties as the rest of us, but somehow his extraordinary courage, grace, and a zeal for truth shine through.  A lot of people, both white folks and black folks and others as well, love and admire H. K.  He would probably make a great preacher, but his life is a pretty good sermon itself.  I wish we had about 50,000 teachers like him.  I would rest more comfortably about the future of our country.

“H. K. showed me a letter he had written to President Bush, asking for a meeting with him.  I know the letter was hand delivered to the President by a friend.  The President would do well to meet with H. K. and listen keenly to what he says.  I am sure the White House can fix up some chicken wings, and America would be far better for it.

“Postscript: September 10, 2009.  President George W. Bush never met with Edgerton who is now trying to meet with the current president.”

From The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths

By Leonard M. (Mike) Scruggs

2011

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