Dude must be auditioning to be the opening speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
H.K. Edgerton is all sorts of awesome. Ta-Nehisi Coates has this up on his Atlantic site and it is going to be fun to follow how his readers respond to this foolishness.
Question: is this video sufficient evidence that Edgerton is non-compos mentis and should be committed to a mental health facility? If I were on a jury Edgerton's performance would be pretty damn compelling evidence that something is a bit off and he needs some meds.
Doubling down, here is a story on Edgerton's run-in with the KKK and how they are none too dissimilar in their racial attitudes from the Neo-Confederate Civil War reenactors that black fool pals around with.
Confederates in Black
H.K. Edgerton speaks wistfully of the "sense of family" that bound blacks and whites under slavery. There was great "love between the African who was here in the Southland and his master," he says.
Despite its poor reviews, Edgerton concludes, slavery served as an "institution of learning" for blacks.
Edgerton sounds a lot like other apologists for slavery — many of whom, like him, pledge allegiance to the Confederate battle flag and the movement around it. But he stands out from this crowd in some significant ways.
For starters, he's black.
And Edgerton is also the former president of the Asheville, N.C., branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) — a group that fellow neo-Confederate Arthur Ravenal, a white South Carolina state senator, described this year as the "National Association of Retarded People."
Edgerton sees no contradictions here. In an interview with the Intelligence Report, he insisted that he's doing his part to "correct the lies" when he suggests that "it was better to be an African in the Southland as a slave than to be free in Africa." He's speaking as a "favored son of the South," he said, when he addresses Confederate flag rallies from North Carolina to Georgia to Texas.
In a lily-white movement that most blacks find deeply offensive, Edgerton seems to feel quite at home. And as he dances to the tune of "Dixie" — sometimes quite literally — he helps gives the cause the appearance of legitimacy.
It is a gloss that frequently racist neo-Confederate groups desperately need in order to maintain the idea that theirs is a movement that celebrates "heritage, not hate."
'I Don't Want To Be Black'
Edgerton is almost unique, but not entirely so. The other prominent black figure on the Confederate flag rally circuit is a former militiaman who recently proclaimed: "I am hereby resigning myself from the black race."
J.J. Johnson, once a leading militia figure in Ohio, offers running commentary on the Confederate flag issue in his Internet publication, the Sierra Times.
"I hope some black person is reading this right now and fuming," he writes in one editorial. "If you think the Confederate flag is insulting to you, you are being used, or as we say it in the hood, you bein' played — for a fool."
In "I Don't Want to be Black Anymore," Johnson's most controversial installment to date, he lambastes the NAACP tourism boycott of South Carolina — a measure that helped get the Confederate flag taken down from that state's Capitol building.
For his part, Edgerton manages to remain unfazed when white supremacists show their support at various flag rallies — despite an incident two years ago in which two Klansmen shot up his cousin's house.
"It's highly offensive to me for any member of my family or any member of this community to face that kind of terrorism," Edgerton said after that attack, expressing concern that his relatives might have been targeted because of his position at the NAACP.
But Edgerton still has good things to say about the Klansmen with whom he chatted at a recent flag rally in Stone Mountain, Ga. — the place where the Klan was reborn in the 1920s — although he didn't know then they were Klan members.
"They were willing to shake my hand," he explains.
Well, kind of. At the Stone Mountain event, Edgerton reportedly invited a white woman onto the stage after speaking and gave her a kiss. Not long after, that infamous kiss was being relived on AlaReb, an invitation-only Internet discussion group for neo-Confederates.
"This is what happens when we choose to be inclusionists and integrationists," a woman named Dianne wrote. "If we ask Negroes to support our cause they will expect certain perks, one of which may be the privilege of hugging and kissing the white females in attendance at these events."
A posting signed by David Cooksey, current member and former chairman of the Tuscaloosa County (Ala.) chapter of the purportedly nonracist League of the South (see A League of Their Own), is blunter.
"35 years ago, H.K. would not have even thought of such a disgraceful thing," the posting said in a response to Dianne, "for he would have known that the men would not put up with this violation of a Southern White female! He would have never been seen or heard from again."
...If the Yankee government is the true oppressor for these men, the neo-Confederate movement, in their view, holds the promise of freedom. At an April flag rally in Charleston, S.C., Johnson said he wanted "to see this flag over 49 more state Capitols, because it is a symbol of resistance to federal tyranny."
Edgerton linked his presence at the rally to Martin Luther King Jr.'s "dream that someday the sons of slaves and sons of former slave owners could sit down at the table of brotherhood."
Edgerton often describes his activism as an extension of King's work and the ongoing fight for civil rights. Knowing that few blacks would view King's legacy, civil rights or Southern history as he does, Edgerton seems motivated all the more.
"If every African-American would pick up the Confederate flag," he proclaims, "I would say, 'Free at last, free at last, God almighty, I am free at last.'"