H.K. Edgerton Addresses His White “Babies” In Tennessee

This address by H.K. Edgerton took place this past weekend in Elizabethton, Tennessee during a memorial service for “black Confederate” Robert Stover. The event was organized by the  Lt. Robert J. Tipton, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp. H.K. is still going strong and will no doubt always have an audience among his white”babies.”

[Uploaded to YouTube on June 8, 2014]
14 comments… add one
  • Kathleen Wyer Lane Jun 10, 2014 @ 4:51

    Hi Kevin:

    It’s been awhile since I posted on your blog. You may remember that as the Manager of the Writers Forum at AfriGeneas, my comments were always highly critical of people like H K. I remember writing that someone else like him was a quisling. Shortly after that I received a nasty follow up message.

    Anyway, I thought that you would be interested in my recent post on the AfriGeneas Writers Forum. It serves as an introduction and a link to a discussion on the myth of black soldiers in the confederacy. Writing in the Digital Age mentions you, Andy and Dr Simpson. It also mentions the AfriGeneas Military Forum and provides a link to its discussion on the myth of confederate black soldiers. If you click on it and scroll down to Bennie McRae’s posting, his research is sterling. A few years ago McRae donated his archives on the US Colored Troops to Hampton University in Virginia. They’re on line. Take a look. Bennie has spent more than 20 years researching the USCT.

    The multi-racial staff at AfriGeneas oversees the documented history of Africans in the Americas. Therefore I posted the link (as Write Away) to remind Family History Writers that primary research is the key to documenting our legacy.

    My ancestor was mustered into Ullmann’s Brigade in Pensacola in the Spring of 1863. Ullmann’s Brigade was re designated the Corps D’Afrique and was listed in the Order of Battle at Port Hudson. I’m very proud of his service.

    So when people like H K shuffle and dance around the truth about black men in the Civil War, it’s as if he and his neo confederates are dancing on their graves. H K gives new meaning to a minstrel show.

    Please click on the link below.
    Kathleen Wyer


    • Kevin Levin Jun 10, 2014 @ 7:22

      Hi Kathleen,

      Nice to hear from you again. I am familiar with the essay. Thanks for providing the link for interested readers. The author did a first rate job.

  • Matt McKeon Jun 10, 2014 @ 3:03

    H.K. The Stephin Fetchit of our times.

    • Kevin Levin Jun 10, 2014 @ 3:17

      The important difference, however, is that Fetchit’s roles reflected the limits that black actors faced at the time. H.K. is up to something very different.

      • Bryan Cheeseboro Jun 10, 2014 @ 4:13

        Also important to note is that Fetchit was an actor getting paid. Edgerton is not acting.

        • Kevin Levin Jun 10, 2014 @ 4:38

          Edgerton does get paid for these presentations and he has some kind of arrangement with Dixie Outitters in connection with their t-shirts. On the other hand, I agree that he is not acting. H.K. believes what he is saying.

          • Rob Baker Jun 10, 2014 @ 17:57

            That or H.K. is targeting the market.

            • Keith Jun 11, 2014 @ 11:25

              The black confederate issue is one I don’t write too much about because others are covering so well and extensively. I have always wondered with H.K.E. thought how much is opportunism and how much is intellectual confusion on his part. I guess in the end only he knows for sure.

              Another thing I have always wondered is the extent to which his universally white audience believes what he is saying, and/or how much they are just using him for whatever they are using him for. Another ponderable is: to what degree do they say it out loud to themselves and each other.

  • The other Susan Jun 10, 2014 @ 1:24

    “I think some of my pompous black folk friends didn’t like the question” uh… okay, well I guess he is doing a fairly decent job of reenacting Holt Collier who said of northern black soldiers, “You know how biggety a n—- is when he gits on a uniform.”

  • Kate Jun 9, 2014 @ 14:40

    What’s weird about that to me is that Elizabethton was a hotbed of Union loyalists during the CW. Most of the ‘Bridge Burners’ were from there, as well as Daniel Ellis, the Union scout who led hundreds of Unionists to Kentucky where most of them joined the Union Army. That it’s now the site of antics such as these is ironic.

    • Rob Baker Jun 9, 2014 @ 16:48

      It was a hotbed yes, but it represented more of a communities in conflict paradigm. Unionism was more prevalent and feared in the region, because the Confederates feared Unionist and Federal control of the region. This had more to do with significance of the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad than anything. The memory of the war in the region is peculiar as well. The classic example is Fannin County, GA. In the Civil War, that county was known for Union sentiment and voted overwhelmingly to stay in the Union. However, today Fannin County High School is known as the Rebels. They play Dixie and shoot a little cannon.

    • Michael Lynch Jun 9, 2014 @ 17:50

      If I’m not mistaken, Samuel P. Carter, who commanded many of the East Tennessee Unionist refugees who made their way into Kentucky, was from the same Carter family that was very prominent in the early history of the Elizabethton area.

    • Scott Jun 10, 2014 @ 3:55

      No irony involved to be honest. While it was the site of the bridge burnings and the Carter Uprising, there was a Confederate uprising shortly after the Carter uprising dispersed. The area of the cemetery and the general area around it had a pretty heavy secessionist sentiment. There were events that had some of the population change their mind about remaining Union loyal. I’m not sure about how much the railroad had to do with secession movement in the county. I never have put much stock into that theory. S.P. Carter was a direct line descendant of the early Carter family, his younger brother William helped plan the bridge burning.

      • Kevin Levin Jun 10, 2014 @ 4:10

        What is interesting is just how disconnected events like this usually are from the local history. Edgerton brings the shame show and same narrative to every event. He has nothing to say about Stover that has anything to do with the available historical record nor is it likely that he has any understanding of local history of the war.

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