AFRICAN-AMERICAN NAACP PRESIDENT SUES ST. AUGUSTINE TO KEEP CONFEDERATE MONUMENT
PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release
CONTACT: David McCallister Phone: 813-778-1202 E-mail: Floridasshe@gmail.com
BLACK FORMER NAACP PRESIDENT SUES CITY OF ST AUGUSTINE TO KEEP CONFEDERATE MONUMENT
HK Edgerton on his way to pay respects at Plaza de la Constitucion "Our "Dead" Cenotaph
St. Augustine – A lawsuit was filed today in Federal Court, along with a request for a request for an Emergency Temporary Restraining Order that seeks to prevent the City of St. Augustine, Florida from removing the oldest Confederate monument in Florida, in the state’s oldest City.
The primary plaintiff on the lawsuit is HK Edgerton, past President of the National Association of Colored People “NAACP” in his home town of Asheville, NC and includes 10 counts including violations of the plaintiff’s Constitution rights under the 1st and 14th Amendments. There are nine other plaintiffs in the case including the Ladies Memorial Association and William Wing Loring Camp #1316, Sons of Confederate Veterans and Save Southern Heritage Florida.
The St. Augustine monument was erected in 1879, as the successor monument erected by the Ladies Memorial Association on private property after seven years of planning and fundraising due suppression of free speech rights during Military Occupation by Federal Reconstruction in St. Augustine. According to the complaint “Alas, the ladies were forced to submit to the oppression of rights their husbands, fathers, brothers and nephews took up arms to defend, at a time when they themselves had no political voice. They had no political rights either. Their Cenotaph erection project predated woman’s sufferage by a half century. At the time of the decision by the City Commission women in the City of St. Augustine and in the State of Florida did not have the right to vote, as the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had neither been proposed nor ratified. The LMA members were suffering dis-enfranchisement from the political process in America. Nonetheless, they expressed what rights they did have by erecting a landmark that has stood, emanating their intended speech, in the only way they could speak it for 140 years.”
Mr. Edgerton said “it would be a travesty if the City of St. Augustine, our nation’s oldest and most diverse city, is allowed censor this Monument and erase the history and sacrifice of folks that looked like me”.
The lawsuit was filed with the backdrop of an online meeting of the City Commission, where the Commission is expected to take action on whether to keep or removed the nearly 150 year old Monument. Commissioners are lounging at home and public speakers about the monument itself were ‘social distancing’.
The lawsuit also seeks to remove that the “Contextualization” that the City installed in 2018 that plaintiffs claim represent suppression of their Constitutional rights.
Mr. Edgerton NC. He has been a civil rights activist for a half century and was part of the Civil Rights movement memorialized in the same Plaza de la Constitution where the embattled Confederate Monument is located. Mr. Edgerton turned his attention to oppressed civil rights of descendants of veterans of the Southern Armed Forces in the conflict of 1861-1865 and has featured prominently in efforts to protect the rights of school children, “his babies”.
Mr. Edgerton has been an expert witness in a Federal freedom of expression First Amendment lawsuit on this subject. He travelled from North Carolina to St. Augustine on multiple occasions to promote the preservation of the Cenotaph and asked on several occasions to be granted an item on the City’s agenda to present the ‘other side’ but at each time he was rejected.
There are several monument cases pending in Federal Court with similar complaints to this one, but none of which related to as monument as old as this one.
The case was assigned to Judge Brian J. Davis, an appointee to the bench by President Obama. who was criticized in the appointment process for bias towards blacks.
SAVE SOUTHERN HERITAGE Inc. is a not for profit corporation that educates & advocates on behalf of Southern Heritage & History. It was started in 2015 in response to the knee-jerk Anti-Southern institutionalized bullying and â€œEracismâ€ levied against the people of South Carolina by Governor Nikki Haley, after she broke all previous agreements about how South Carolinaâ€™s historical veterans and their symbols should be treated and respected.
The Florida branch was activated in mid-January 2016, in response to three initiatives in the Florida Legislature that are part of a hate campaign led by Anti-American extremists, who refuse to respect the various cultures that make up the fabric of Floridaâ€™s society. Since that time, it has grown in membership and has been active in battles over American History and throughout Florida including the â€œWeâ€™ll Remember in November Campaignâ€ that resulted in #heritagehater candidates to lose elections in Florida and others to win. More info:www.sshfl.org.