The Sons of Confederate Veterans gathered Saturday to commemorate those who died in the Civil War, specifically those who belonged to the University Greys, the group of students who left Ole Miss to fight in the Civil War.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group dedicated to promoting Confederate heritage and history, has been fighting the suppression of Confederate names and symbols. Recently, the group has been working to reinstate the name “Confederate Drive” to the street currently called Chapel Lane.
According to the organization’s website, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is the oldest hereditary organization for male descendants of Confederate soldiers.
Charles E. McMichael, former Commander in Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, explained his concerns with university’s recent changes in street names.
“It’s a shame that Southern schools are repressing their Confederate symbols because it’s a part of their past,” McMichael said. “And a university is supposed to embody the word universal, so why can’t we have viewpoints from everyone?”
Many of the participants dressed in Civil War-era clothing and waved Confederate flags and those of the states that seceded.
Sophomore English major Hannah Gammill said she attended because she heard that people were going to be angry and protest the event, but did not see anything that needed to be protested against.
“(This event) is just a way of coping with history. They are polishing over history, though. I mean, if you think we’re living in a post-racial society, you have to be wearing rose-colored glasses or something.”
Despite rumors of protestors, none were present.
Although the crowd was predominantly white, there were African Americans in attendance. H.K. Edgerton, an African American, participated in the event wearing a Confederate uniform and waving a Confederate flag.
“I think it’s a disgrace that black people are used as a weapon against Southern heritage and symbols,” Edgerton said.
Edgerton argues against the suppression of Southern symbols. His website, “southernheritage411.com,” is dedicated to sharing the perspective of African Americans that defend Confederate symbols.
Sons of Confederate Veterans member Boyce DeLashmit ended the meeting with a statement of the group’s mission.
“We have to know where we came from and this is why we are here today,” DeLashmit said. “We are celebrating our Southern heritage.”