Tag Archives: Summerville

Mere presence of Sons of Confederate Veterans causes cries of racism

"Your permission is not required for me to honor my ancestors" - Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton Camp No. 273 Columbia, S.C. (Twitter)
“Your permission is not required for me to honor my ancestors” – Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton Camp No. 273 Columbia, S.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans. (Twitter)

Sons of Confederate Veterans anger local “community organizer”…

The annual Flowertown Festival held in picturesque Summerville, SC is usually a celebration of everything Southern by all the people of South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

But in this day and age of political correctness, there are those who don’t really need a reason to be offended or angry, just an excuse.

Case in point would be the “outrage” suffered by certain killjoys who attended this year’s festivities.

H. K. Edgerton, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. H.K. is a former president of the Asheville, NC chapter of the NAACP. (Facebook)
H. K. Edgerton, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Mr Edgerton is the former president of the Asheville, NC chapter of the NAACP. (Facebook)

As reported by both The Charleston Post and Courier and also The Summerville Journal Scene, the Summerville chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) set-up a booth on private property adjacent to the festival proper.

Nevertheless, the affront-o-meter of certain folks found itself cranked up all the way to 11.

Members of the H.L. Hunley Camp No. 143 chapter of the SCV have for years displayed a replica of the CSS Hunley for the festival-goers to see and learn of.

But not this year.

The sightseers and tourists wouldn’t have much of an opportunity to learn of the first operational submarine to ever sink an enemy vessel.

Due to technicality, specifically the “lack of a necessary business license permit,” the SCV was denied permission to display the replica of the historic warship on festival grounds.

“We’ve had the Hunley here the last six years,” said Ben Bunting, commander of the local SCV chapter. “We have never been approached about having a permit.”

Bunting said the submarine display actually arrived in Summerville as usual prior to the festival but was turned away because it lacked the permit required by all vendors.

“By all appearances what went on this (festival) year appears to be collusion in my opinion…to satisfy a problem with a community organizer,” Bunting said.

Louis Smith, founder of the Community Resource Center, which works to promote opportunities for the black community, appeared to confirm that claim.

“If that exhibit had been approved, we were going to protest by putting black people in chains,” Smith said Sunday at the festival. Smith said the display was a tool to spread hate toward the black community and could not believe that it was allowed at a family event.

The various races and ethnicities that comprise the H. L. Hunley Cannon crew at the 150th Anniversary of the battle of Fort Wagner. (Facebook)
The various races and ethnicities that comprise the H. L. Hunley cannon crew at the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Wagner. (Facebook)

While the Flowertown Festival is held in the town of Summerville, the town government isn’t the official organizer of the event, but rather the Summerville Family YMCA.

According to the local Y’s executive director Gary Lukridge;

“That vendor was outside of our jurisdiction,” he said. “We can’t control what happens on private property.”

It was further reported that “Lukridge confirmed that he spoke to Smith ‘a couple of weeks’ before the festival and relayed the information that the Hunley exhibit would not be coming.”

The CSS Hunley attacks and eventually sinks the sloop-of-war USS Housatonic off the Charleston coast. (Pinterest)
The CSS Hunley attacks and eventually sinks the sloop-of-war USS Housatonic off the Charleston coast. (Pinterest)

Despite the fact that the local government has no authority in the matter, community organizer Smith is taking his problems to city hall.

Town Council is expected to be asked soon to take a public stand against a group that promoted Confederate history at last weekend’s Flowertown Festival.

Louis Smith of the Community Resource Center said he and representatives from other area advocacy groups will call on council to condemn the actions of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which handed out Confederate flags and information on their organization at the festival.

Smith said he wouldn’t have had a problem with the group if it had stayed on Couch’s property, but, “the moment they stepped off the private property and started handing out Confederate flags to little children, that became an issue on so many different levels. What I care about is what the flag has come to represent, and that is pure, unadulterated hatred.”

Confederate Naval Jack. (Wiki)
Confederate Naval Jack. (Wiki)

For their part, the SCV is rejecting the “hate” label.

“The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America,” states the organization’s website.

Bunting said the local SCV chapter holds military funeral services for new graves of confederate soldiers that are found – even those belonging to African-Americans.

“It’s a shame,” Bunting said. “We are not here because ‘the South is going to rise again;’ we’re not para-military; we’re not white supremacists. …We are not a radical group. We’re sympathetic and empathetic to all….issues. We don’t want any problems.”

Perhaps best explaining why thousands of whites and blacks alike fought for the Confederacy was the often used four sentence history lesson;

Union cavalry surrounded a lone Confederate soldier who had no horse and whose clothes were dirty and tattered. A Union officer said to him that it was obvious that he had no wealth and not the means to own slaves. The officer asked: “Why are you fighting this war?” The Confederate answered: “Because you are here.”
Black Confederate veterans in turn of the century Lynchburg, VA. Note the white man who's doing the driving for the three vets. (Facebook)
Black Confederate veterans in turn of the century Lynchburg, VA. Note it’s a white man who’s doing the driving for the three vets. (Facebook)

The national website for the Sons of Confederate Veterans cites, as well as providing direct links to numerous historical facts that the vast majority of Americans were never taught in school. A handful of examples are as follows;

  • Free black musicians, cooks, soldiers and teamsters earned the same pay as white confederate privates. This was not the case in the Union army where blacks did not receive equal pay. At the Confederate Buffalo Forge in Rockbridge County, Virginia, skilled black workers “earned on average three times the wages of white Confederate soldiers and more than most Confederate army officers ($350-$600 a year).
  • Dr. Lewis Steiner, Chief Inspector of the United States Sanitary Commission while observing Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson’s occupation of Frederick, Maryland, in 1862: “Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in this number [Confederate troops]. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc. These were shabby, but not shabbier or seedier than those worn by white men in the rebel ranks. Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie-knives, dirks, etc., and were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederate Army.”
  • The Richmond Sentinel reported on 24 Mar 1864, “None…will deny that our servants are more worthy of respect than the motley hordes, which come against us.” “Bad faith [to black Confederates] must be avoided as an indelible dishonor.”
  • The first military monument in the US Capitol that honors an African-American soldier is the Confederate monument at Arlington National cemetery. The monument was designed 1914 by Moses Ezekiel, a Jewish Confederate, who wanted to correctly portray the “racial makeup” in the Confederate Army. A black Confederate soldier is depicted marching in step with white Confederate soldiers. Also shown is one “white soldier giving his child to a black woman for protection”. – Source: Edward Smith, African American professor at the American University, Washington DC.
  • The first military monument in the US Capitol that honors an African-American soldier is the Confederate monument at Arlington National cemetery. The monument was designed 1914 by Moses Ezekiel, a Jewish Confederate, who wanted to correctly portray the “racial makeup” in the Confederate Army. A black Confederate soldier is depicted marching in step with white Confederate soldiers. Also shown is one “white soldier giving his child to a black woman for protection”. – Source: Edward Smith, African American professor at the American University, Washington DC.
  • Black Confederate heritage is beginning to receive the attention it deserves. For instance, Terri Williams, a black journalist for the Suffolk “Virginia Pilot” newspaper, writes: “I’ve had to re-examine my feelings toward the [Confederate] flag…It started when I read a newspaper article about an elderly black man whose ancestor worked with the Confederate forces. The man spoke with pride about his family member’s contribution to the cause, was photographed with the [Confederate] flag draped over his lap…that’s why I now have no definite stand on just what the flag symbolizes, because it no longer is their history, or my history, but our history.”