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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: August 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Southern Legal Resource Center eUPDATE


A high school in Lake County, Florida, at which the SLRC is investigating complaints made by a student, has apparently now added “Rebel Flags” to a list of items it considers inappropriate for students to display.

In June a female student at Eustis High School told the SLRC she had been the victim of a series of heritage violations: a school secretary demanded that she remove and hand over some Confederate-themed jewelry she was wearing. Also, according to the student’s mother, an art teacher spray painted over a small Confederate flag the student had used to decorate a pair of jeans. In the same class a pottery cowboy boot the student had made, which was also decorated with a Confederate flag, was broken. She received a grade of “F” on both art projects.

The mother indicated that previously there had been no specific ban on Confederate items at the school; however, the new (2007) student handbook, which just took effect at the beginning of this school year, says, “the following items have potential to cause disruption or threat to a safe and positive school environment: … [references to] alcoholic beverages, drugs, tobacco, and symbols or writings (e.g. swastikas, Rebel Flags, etc.) that have sexual or racial connotation … “

The SLRC wrote to the school’s principal in July but received no reply. Phone calls to the principal have not been returned.


The resignation of U. S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was viewed with interest at the SLRC and throughout the Southern Heritage community, where he was widely remembered as the architect of the middle-of-the-night removal of two Confederate memorial plaques from the Texas Supreme Court building.

Back in 2000, Gonzales, who at that time was a sitting Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, acted as the liaison between the Governor's office, the General Services Commission and his fellow justices on the Texas Supreme Court in removing the dedicated Confederate Memorial Plaques and replacing them with two politically correct markers. The action was said to have been undertaken as part of a deal with Texas NAACP Chairman Gary Bledsoe.

The Governor of Texas at that time was George W. Bush, who, later, as President, sponsored his old friend Gonzalez as Attorney General.

In 2002-3, H.K. Edgerton, former NAACP officer and later Chairman of the SLRC’s Board of Advisors, marched with a Confederate flag 1,606 miles from Asheville, NC, to Austin, TX, to demand restoration of the plaques. Edgerton has said he intends to hold a five-year anniversary recreation of his march beginning later this fall.


An attorney in Manhattan who is listed in the Sons of Confederate Veterans Membership Directory flatly stated he is not an SCV member in a letter in which he declined to assist the SLRC in bringing a possible New York lawsuit.

SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie obtained Attorney James M. Rhodes’ contact information from the SCV Directory and wrote to him on August 10, outlining the case and asking if Rhodes would be interested in acting as local counsel. On August 23, not having heard from Rhodes, McCredie called and left him a phone message. Rhodes returned the call, said he had not received the letter, and asked McCredie to fax it to him at a resort in Sun Valley, Idaho, where Rhodes was vacationing. McCredie did so. The next day Rhodes faxed a reply to McCredie, saying in part, “I am not interested in acting locally on your behalf in the matter described in your letter. For your information, I am not a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans…“

McCredie replied:

“Thank you for your letter of August 24, 2007. Actually, the information I used to contact you was found on Page 554 of the 2006 Directory of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, that organization of which you stated you are not a member (copy enclosed). Prior to writing to you I double checked with SCV International Headquarters and was told that this entry was current. I am taking the liberty of copying this letter to the Adjutant-in-Chief so that the national organization’s records can be corrected. Meanwhile, please be assured that none of your contact information has been retained by our office.”

Rhodes is listed as a member of Gen. Archibald Gracie Camp #985, in New York City.


If you have a stake in Southern heritage and culture, and are looking for a meaningful way to honor and protect them, please give generously to the Southern Legal Resource Center. With your help we can continue our aggressive efforts to secure the rights of all Southerners to express pride in their regional identity without fear of ridicule or reprisal, as should be the case for all Americans.

The Southern Legal Resource Center is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, and contributions to it are fully tax deductible. Credit card and PayPal donations may be made at our website by clicking on “How You Can Help.” Checks payable to the Southern Legal Resource Center should be mailed to P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC 28711. “Thumbs Up for Dixie” stickers are available for SLRC and local heritage fundraising projects. Contact Allison Schaum for details at or (864) 476-0656.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Confederate descendants group says Richmond uncooperative over cemetery

NBC 12 Richmond

Monday, August 20, 2007


A sailor who had been told to remove a Confederate flag tattoo or resign from the U.S. Navy won’t have to make that choice due to information and advice he received from the SLRC.

Machinist’s Mate First Class Walter Blackburn, who is stationed at Newport News, Virginia, contacted the SLRC in early August seeking advice as to how to save his eight-year Navy career without abandoning his Confederate heritage. Blackburn said he has a tattoo on one arm showing crossed Confederate and Irish flags and was told by his superior that he would have to have the Battle Flag portion of the tattoo eradicated or “no longer remain in the Navy.” He applied for a waiver that would have allowed him to keep the tattoo, but the waiver was denied.

The SLRC advised Blackburn to request a naval mast hearing so that he could present the cultural and First Amendment issues raised by his case and Blackburn decided to do so, even if it meant jeopardizing his naval career. However, when he returned from two weeks’ leave on Monday, he was informed that his case had been reconsidered and he could keep his tattoo. In an e-mail to the SLRC, he said: "Thank you so much for your support and assistance. I just returned from leave and was informed that my case was reconsidered and I am no longer required to remove the flag. Score one for the little guy. Thank you again for everything."

“We love happy endings,” said SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk D. Lyons.

SLRC eUpdate


The SLRC on Sunday concluded its initial research to support the local SCV camp’s position that the Confederate Battle Flag should be restored to an outdoor display at the historic Ringgold, Georgia, train depot.

The Ringgold town council removed the flag in March of 2005, following objections to its presence by the local NAACP. Members of the local SCV camp argued for its restoration, citing Georgia statutes prohibiting interference with a memorial display, but were rebuffed by the Council’s attorney. The town then substituted a blue Hardee-pattern corps flag for the battle flag which it claimed was historically correct because it was the unit flag of Confederate forces who fought at the Battle of Ringgold Gap (November 27, 1863). SCV members countered that the Battle Flag, as a soldiers’ and later a veterans’ flag, was the appropriate flag, as the display was intended to honor all Confederates who left for all theaters of the war from Ringgold Depot, and not just those involved in the action there. The matter remained in limbo until April of this year, when the Georgia Division of the SCV retained the SLRC to pursue the matter.

Painstaking SLRC research indicates that the Confederate units which departed from the Ringgold depot served in several different combat theaters, which in turn would mean that the appropriate flag to display there would be the Battle Flag. The presence of paving bricks displaying the names of units and individuals who embarked from Ringgold reinforces the position that the depot site is a memorial, as opposed to a mere historical display, according to the SLRC.

“The next step, once we get our material organized, will probably be to lay what we have before the town council and ask them to reconsider their position and restore the battle flag,” said SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie. “We just want to have all the t’s crossed and the I’s dotted first.”

SLRC eUpdate

Friday, August 10, 2007

Another View of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest

By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.

Is the history of our great nation important to you?

Union Gen. William T. Sherman said of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, "After all, I think Forrest as the most remarkable man our "Civil War" produced on either side." This came from a man who was once a foe of Forrest on the field of battle.

Why do some folks attack America's heritage?

Several years ago attempts were made to change the name of Forrest Park in Memphis, Tennessee. Now, there are people who try to change the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest High school in Jacksonville, Florida.

Was Gen. Forrest an early advocate for Civil Rights?

Forrest's speech during a meeting of the "Jubilee of Pole Bearers" is a story that needs to be told. Gen. Forrest was the first white man to be invited by this group which was a forerunner of today's Civil Right's group. A reporter of the Memphis Avalanche newspaper was sent to cover the event that included a Southern barbeque supper.

Miss Lou Lewis, daughter of a Pole Bearer member, was introduced to Forrest and she presented the former general a bouquet of flowers as a token of reconciliation, peace and good will. On July 5, 1875, Nathan Bedford Forrest delivered this speech:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the Southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man, to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on
farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don't propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I'll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen,for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand." (Prolonged applause.) End of speech.

Nathan Bedford Forrest again thanked Miss Lewis for the bouquet and then gave her a kiss on the cheek. Such a kiss was unheard of in the society of those days, in 1875, but it showed a token of respect and friendship between the general and the black community and did much to promote harmony among the citizens of Memphis.

Involve your family in study sessions to seek the truth about this nation's history and ask your local government officials not to change the name of streets and schools named for our American ancestors.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Guess What Folks--Secession Wasn't Treason

by Al Benson Jr.
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