Man with rebel flag seeks to fix `injustice' 2005-07-01 by Darren Dunlap of The Daily Times Staff Today H.K. Edgerton, a black man from Asheville, N.C., will walk into Maryville with a Confederate flag and a hope for ``dialogue.'' He'll stop at the Blount County Courthouse, at about 1 p.m., to get his message out, one that he hopes will bring blacks and whites together, rather than divide people. He walked this week from Johnson City and has experienced both affection and anger from people he's met on the road. ``This is not about a longevity trip, not like it was when I walked to Texas. This is more about coming to Maryville to try to change ... a social injustice,'' Edgerton said Thursday. ``The city of Maryville epitomizes the cultural genocide that is taking place in the South, and continuation of trying to divide and separate blacks folks from white folks around here.'' Banning the flag is a part of reconstructionist, revisionist view of history taking place in the South, he said, and along with that comes the loss of a piece of the region's story. ``There's a story that's not being told here in the south end of America -- a tragedy here in Maryville.'' At the courthouse, he said he hopes members of the Maryville Board of Education will come out and talk with him. He was critical of the board's decision to ban the flags. Last month, the board voted on first reading to ban flags, noisemakers, sirens, whistles, laser-pointers and hand-held signs. The no-flag policy would eliminate the use of a symbol long associated with the school. ``Now here we have an institution -- calls itself a school board -- it's supposed to be for a process of learning for our children,'' said Edgerton. ``Instead of teaching those children the other side of the story, because there's more than one side of the story -- we each come here with the same Northern revisionist history and we start to ban the flag, stop the dialogue -- don't want to have it. ... You can't turn black folks into haters against their sovereign; create all the same kind of reconstructionist hatred that Abraham Lincoln and his boys did around here. ``We've totally opened our arms to folks that come here; now they want to change our morals, who we are as people, dishonor our ancestors, and then all we're going to do is just holler `slavery' and end the dialogue and, no sir: it don't happen like that, don't work like that. ``There are many Southerners around here just like myself, who are loyal to the South, who know and understand history, and who know and understand this reconstructionist, revisionist policy folks abuse.'' Edgerton said the point of the walk was to call attention to the ``ethnic cleansing of Southern history.'' His march is sponsored by the Tennessee Division of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. He is a former president of the Asheville Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He also serves as chairman for the Board of Advisors of the Southern Legal Resource Center, a ``Southern heritage'' civil rights organization in Black Mountain, N.C. He brushed aside the titles, though, and said he was just ``an old Southern black boy. I've been in civil rights all my life. .... I'm just an ordinary country boy from the South who loves the southland.''