The Last Black Confederate Surrenders

I’m not sure how I missed this story, but it looks like H.K. Edgerton has given up his crusade to teach Americans about the loyalty of black Southerners to the Confederate cause.  In the years leading up to his April 2007 decision to furl the flag Edgerton had become a popular fixture at various Southern Heritage rallies.  He is best known for his trek in full Confederate uniform, along with his trusty Confederate flag, from Asheville, NC to Austin, TX.  I’ve blogged about Edgerton in the past and what I take to be the proper context for interpreting his “mission.”  In short, I think Edgerton has been influenced by an overly narrow memory of Southern history that reduces everything down to the Civil War and highlights the centrality of whites at the expense of black Southerners.  Check out this YouTube video of Edgerton in action.  I couldn’t help but think that this is a guy who wants to belong and identify with a past; unfortunately, he is unable to identify with anything beyond a bunch of guys parading as dead Confederate chieftains.  How sad.

So why is Edgerton furling his flag?  Turns out he has been accused of fraud:

Elijah Coleman, a prominent activist in the Georgia SCV, wrote a widely distributed E-mail in early March accusing Edgerton of selling hundreds of SCV-provided battle flags at a NASCAR event and pocketing the funds. Coleman also claimed that Edgerton was demanding huge sums for a new car, even after he was offered one costing $3,000.

“I began to see a new H. K. obsessed with money as he spoke of everyone ripping him off on past visits by him to Florida and other states. Money was the main thing on his mind,” wrote Coleman. “I realized he was now in the heritage fight only for the money.”

The article does not include any admission of guilt on the part of Edgerton, only that he has refrained from engaging in any public appearances.  Edgerton seems to be proudest about his “H.K. Edgerton t-shirt” which is produced by Dixie Outfitters and included in its “Modern Confederate Hero Line.”  I think that about sums it up.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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