Saturday, May 12, 2012

H.K. EDGERTON Response to Texas Legislators

HK Response to TX Legislators
90 Church Street
P.O. Box 1235
Black Mountain, NC 28711

May 9, 2012

Senator Rodney Ellis
Senator Royce West
Rep. Alma Allen
Rep. Garnet Coleman
Rep. Yvonne Davis
Rep. Eric Johnson
Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon
Rep. Borris Miles
Rep. Ron Reynolds
Rep. Senfronia Thompson
Rep. Sylvester Turner
Rep. Marc Veasey

Re: Your May 8, 2012 letter to the Texas Historical Commission

Dear Senators & Representatives:

The press has provided me a copy of your scandalously ignorant and bigoted letter of May 8, 2012, wherein you oppose the application for a historical marker applied for by the Texas Division Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The marker was (and hopefully is) to tell the significant historical story of how ALL the major state office buildings came into being. A man larger than the tawdry political hacks we see in abundance today, a pioneer dedicated to the rights of ALL Texans, Governor Bill Daniel stumped the state in the early 1950's advocating for a constitutional amendment to move the leftover funds from the Confederate Pension Fund and convert it into a State Building Fund.  The amendment provided that the first building built, the Texas Supreme Court Building, was to be dedicated to Texans who served  the Confederacy. The word was simply "Texans," not "white Texans," in order to honor all who served in whatever capacity. This is borne out in the archival records underpinning the historical research used in the application.

The measure was passed overwhelmingly and the buildings were built. The State has had the benefit of Gov. Bill's vision for over 50 years.  Now Texas Solons – how do you tell that story without mentioning the "C" word? 
Whether y'all like it or not, the Texas Supreme Court Building is still constitutionally dedicated to Texans who served the Confederacy, and one may argue the point, but I contend it is the largest Confederate Memorial in the world.

Governor Bill, who was my friend, always told me that he wanted an historical marker to tell the story of where ALL the major state office buildings came from, and in so telling it might mute any protests as to the dedication of the Supreme Court Building. Governor Bill died a few years ago, so never was able to finish his vision of an historical marker for the Supreme Court Building.

So this application was for a marker to tell the people of Texas an important story – Tell me oh noble, wise and fair legislators, how is this "glorifying the Confederacy?" How is this "rewriting history?' How is this "maintaining the institution of African slavery?" Did your staffs' and aides' bother to read the application before ghost-writing your knee-jerk letter to the Texas Historical Commission?

Your Romper Room oversimplification of the causes of the war aside, the People of Texas, fighting to defend themselves from an illegal federal invasion was all the justification needed. The causes of the war have nothing to do with the SCV's application, but I didn't think your collective display of such breath-taking arrogance combined with historical ignorance and misinterpretation should go unchallenged.

I have been an NAACP Chapter President and I have carried a Confederate Flag 1600 miles walking to Texas from North Carolina (10th anniversary coming up in October) and I have advocated on behalf of the Confederate community and educated people of the substantial contributions of Black Southerners (slave and free) to the Confederacy. In a civil rights career spanning over 40 years, one thing I have learned is that prejudice and bigotry affects every race, class, gender and age. I note that not all the Black legislative caucus signed your smear letter, so maybe there is hope for reason to prevail.

If truth and fairness mean anything to you, your letter should be withdrawn and so a free, OPEN and fair debate on this application begin. Kirk D. Lyons and I throw down the gauntlet of open debate.

Most Sincerely,


H. K. Edgerton

PS Senator Ellis owes the honorable Attorney Kirk D. Lyons an apology for the shameful way he tried to defame and insult him and his family (his wife and my nieces and nephews) to the press. As his friend and brother I can say, if Kirk D. is a "white supremacist" (trademarked by SPLC Inc.), then so is every attorney who lives up to his oath to defend the unpopular, the poor and the despised.

In a spirit of good-will, I am sending Senator Ellis a copy of my brother's documentary book of my March Across Dixie. Maybe seeing what real black people think about the Christian Cross of St. Andrew may change his mind.

CC: Sheri Krause
Members of the Texas Historical Commission
Facilities Exec: Terry Kreel