Tell them I’m that Johnny Reb who never got to march home…’

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 6, 2002

H.K. Edgerton carries a Mississippi flag across the Big Black River Bridge on U.S. 80 Thursday as a part of a 1,385-mile trek across seven Southern states. (The Vicksburg Post/Melanie Duncan)

A black member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans walked through Vicksburg Thursday carrying the Mississippi flag, drawing curious stares from motorists.

“Tell them I’m that Johnny Reb who never got to march home carrying glory,” H.K. Edgerton said as he walked on U.S. 80 near Bovina. “Hopefully, God will shake you one morning like he did me. He shook me and that’s why I am here.”

Edgerton started marching on Oct. 14 in his hometown of Asheville, N.C., to raise money, public awareness and support for the defense of Southern heritage, symbols, history, rights and culture.

“Part of the reason that I’m coming down here is to raise money for the National Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Heritage Defense fund as well as the Southern Legal Resource Center,” he said.

Edgerton is chairman of the board of advisers of the Southern Legal Resource Center, where he also serves as a board director.

The past president of the NAACP in Asheville is now president of what’s called the North Carolina Heritage Preservation Association after what he termed an awakening to the truth about history.

Mississippi Division Commander of the SCV Wayne McMaster of Vicksburg gave Edgerton the state flag he was carrying when he met him as he crossed the Mississippi state line from Alabama.

“He’s quite a character,” McMaster said. “He’s an interesting fellow and he’s doing a great thing for the South.”

The Mississippi Division of the SCV donated money for Edgerton’s rooming as he makes his way across the state.

Edgerton walks 20 miles a day and rain and cold temperatures have not stopped his journey.

Edgerton said he was carrying the Mississippi flag on his walk across the state in honor of Mississippians who voted to keep the flag in an April 2001 referendum.

Edgerton said that his being black and being a member of the SCV is not rare.

“The only oddity is that I’m walking to Texas,” he said. “There is a whole group of people in South Carolina that have their own Black Sons of Confederate Veterans organization.

“We are a family around here, no matter what these folks try to do to separate us,” he said. “Black folks and white folks have been family a long time in the southland of America. It is time for folks to get this thing straight and I plan on helping them do that.”

Edgerton said people told him not to go to Selma, Ala., Tuskegee, Ala., and other places in the South, but he said at all of those places, he’s received warm welcomes.

“He’s got the Guinness World Record for most hugs,” said Edgerton’s brother, Terry Lee, who follows behind in a van.

Edgerton said he has faced taunts. “They know nothing about us but they are spreading poison and hate about the southland.

“The war will never end around here until the northland of America restores the Southern treasuries from all the stealing that took place around here and restore the dignity of who we are as people,” Edgerton said. “It is an outright shame that we have to hide our history and hide who we are.”

Edgerton said there are a lot of reasons he’s ending his journey in Austin, Texas.

“Mr. Bush, before he was president, allowed the scalawag folks that worked for him to take down the Confederate flag from the Supreme Court building and they need to put it back, I’m going to remind them of that,” he said.