Anthony Hervey, a 49-year-old resident of Oxford, Mississippi, was reportedly run off the road and killed as he neared his home town late Sunday morning. Hervey (who's shown here in 2000) and Arlene Barnum, a black resident of Stuart, Oklahoma, were returning from a pro-Confederate flag rally in Birmingham, Alabama, where several African-Americans were featured among the supporters of the flag at the “Monumental Dixie” rally.
Barnum was hospitalized following the rollover. She explained that both she and Hervey advocated support of the Confederate flag, though she did not know Hervey before giving him a ride to the rally.
Barnum related that on the return trip, as they approached Oxford she let Hervey take over driving her Ford Explorer. She said he saw a vehicle in the rearview mirror speeding to catch up to them. According to the McAlester News, Barnum said Hervey accelerated, but a “silver vehicle continued to pursue,” and then it swerved into their passenger side.
Barnum posted on Facebook, “HELP ... They after us. My vehicle inside down,” followed by another post in which she said that Hervey was pinned in.
Hervey was the founder of the Black Confederate Soldier Foundation, based in Oxford, Mississippi, whose mission is to “foster new thought on the Civil War.” His vision was to build a memorial that would include the names of the black Confederates who fought and died in the Civil War.
Hervey’s interest in the Confederate flag and the war began when he discovered that his own great-great-uncle, James Hervey, was one of those black Confederate soldiers. His ancestor served in the Army of Mississippi, and was killed at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, in southwestern Tennessee, near the state line of Mississippi.
According to Hervey’s research, at least 100,000 black Confederates fought in the Civil War.
Accompanied by his brother Harry, Anthony began marching in 2000 along U.S. Highway 90, dressed in Confederate gray, carrying the Confederate “battle flag.” Harry wore a Robert E. Lee T-shirt. At the time, Hervey explained, “I am marching for freedom. The battle flag stands for freedom and states’ rights.”
He argued in 2000:
We currently live under a psychological form of reconstruction. Whites are made to feel guilty for sins of their ancestors, and blacks are made to feel downtrodden. This keeps all of us from communicating. The political correctness of today is killing the pride of the people.
At the Birmingham rally, Barnum publicly burned her NAACP life membership card in disgust at that group's opposition to the Confederate flag. Police were forced to intervene and arrest several counter-protesters who attempted to attack Barnum, Hervey, and other pro-Confederate black Americans.
Hervey had been physically attacked in the past for his outspoken pro-Confederate views.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash of Barnum’s vehicle. A Highway Patrol spokesman said the accident took place on Highway 6 near the Pontotoc County line, adding that no more details will be released untl accident reconstructionists examine the evidence.
The Oxford Clarion-Ledger reported that the account given by Barnum “makes the accident seem rather suspicious.”
Hervey was the author of Why I Wave the Confederate Flag: Written by a Black Man. Wearing a Confederate uniform and waving the Confederate flag in Oxford's town square, he would often attract an audience for his talks on the subject of black Confederates in the Civil War.
Several years ago, Hervey told his brother Harry that he should not worry about those who shouted at them in anger as they marched along Highway 90, waving the Confederate flag. “They will yell a lot and want you to confront them, but they will not do anything,” he said.
Whether Hervey was correct in that assurance to his brother will depend on the results of the investigation by legal authorities in Mississippi.
Photo of Anthony Hervey in front of the Mississippi state capitol in 2000: AP Images