Among Monday’s activities commemorating the birthday of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a gathering at the site of the confederate veteran’s memorial in St Augustine’s Plaza de la Constitution. Historic City News local reporters interviewed Harold Kenneth (H. K.) Edgerton who was holding what he called a Table of Brotherhood ceremony. Edgerton said, “I am here in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to fulfill his dream on his birthday.”
The memorial was originally erected on St George Street by the Ladies Memorial Association of St Augustine in May of 1872. It was moved to its permanent home in the Plaza in 1879 by the privately funded citizen’s group. The cenotaph honors forty-six St Augustine area veterans of the American Civil War. Most of the men were members of local Menorcan families who still have ties to the community.
“Dr. King understood that there would be no brotherhood if you attacked the confederate flag,” Edgerton said. “His number one man, Andrew Young, knew as well. During Young’s speech at the prestigious Asheville School, he told me and the many present that it was so.”
Poverty pimps and fake Christian ministers are not interested in the table of brotherhood, according to Edgerton. They want to monetize and profit from division.
“Every attack on this monument and this flag is built on a lie. These lies only create misery for the brotherhood, and every town in America,” according to Edgerton.
Edgerton recalled the first time he came to the beautiful city of St Augustine. He donned the uniform of the Southern soldier – carrying his Southern Cross, the confederate flag, as he does today. He said that he was greeted by residents and visitors with the pomp and ceremony of Julius Caesar as he returned to Rome as a conquering hero. He found it ironic when he read a report that called St Augustine the most racist city in America. “NOT to me!” he proclaimed.
Edgerton pointed out that only a short distance from the memorial is a monument to General Kirby-Smith, whose ashes are interred below. His Aide de Camp, the Honorable Dr. Alexander Darnes, himself a black Confederate soldier, became the first black physician in the City of Jacksonville.
“Today I challenge the elected officials and the people of St. Augustine to join me in living the spirit of Dr. King’s dream,” Edgerton said. “Mayor and commissioners – don’t pull away the chair from the table because of lies. God bless you and God bless America.”