The New American’s previous report on the tragic death of black Confederate flag activist Anthony Hervey can now be updated because additional details have come from survivor Arlene Barnum (shown in the hospital), who was a passenger when the Ford Explorer Hervey was driving was run off the road on Sunday by another vehicle near his home in Oxford, Mississippi. The Mississippi Highway Patrol is investigating the crash as “suspicious.”
They were returning from a rally in Birmingham, Alabama, of 400 supporters of Confederate heritage, when the incident occurred. Several African-American advocates of Southern heritage, including Hervey and Barnum, were invited to speak at the event.
Hervey, who was 49, had written a book, Why I Wave the Confederate Flag: Written by a Black Man, and was the founder of the Black Confederate Soldiers Foundation. Hervey concluded based on his research that there were 100,000 black Confederates, many of whom died in the Civil War, including his great-great uncle James Hervey, who died in the Battle of Shiloh. Anthony Hervey was well known in Oxford for his advocacy of the Confederacy.
Arlene Barnum lives in Stuart, Oklahoma, and is likewise a black person who supports Southern heritage. She spoke with The New American by phone from her home, where she is recovering from injuries suffered in the wreck. She suffered a broken foot.
Barnum traveled from southeastern Oklahoma to Alabama in her Ford Explorer, picking up Hervey in Mississippi. The organizers of the Birmingham event had invited Hervey to speak, but he had told them that he could not attend, as he was presently without transportation. Knowing that Barnum was coming from Oklahoma, they asked her to give Hervey a ride from Oxford to Birmingham. Although she did not know Hervey, she agreed to do so, as the organizers vouched for his character.
The rally in Birmingham, Barnum said, was an effort to create a “network” of Southern organizations to counter all the attacks upon Southern heritage. Plans were made to file legal injunctions to put a stop to the disinterring of Confederate dead, attacks upon Confederate memorials, and to defend the attacks upon the battle flag. According to Barnum, Hervey’s fiery speech was the highlight of the rally.
About 30 protestors showed up at the rally, many wearing white shirts with “MLK” on them. Barnum believed they were there to provoke an incident, offering examples such as putting cameras right into rallygoers’ faces, and even “harassing kids” present at the event. Barnum noticed an “angry-looking black lady” moving closer to her, so she moved away to avoid a confrontation, and left the park by another route, climbing over a chain link fence.
The protesters were yelling names at the rally participants, especially the black Americans, demanding they “go home,” shouting over and over, “I hate you.” One man came up to Barnum and told her, “You are really sick.” Finally, police asked the protesters to leave the rallygoers alone, which led to a woman pushing the officers away. She was then arrested.
At the rally, Barnum burned her membership card in the NAACP because of its attacks upon Southern heritage.
The next morning, Hervey and Barnum started toward home. Barnum said that Anthony talked almost all the way back to Mississippi, explaining his motivations. “He wanted to stop all the racism,” Barnum recalled. He told her that he had been physically assaulted for his beliefs, and had bricks thrown through the windows of his home back in Oxford. Hervey feared that if the attacks upon the battle flag and Southern monuments continued, it would eventually provoke a violent reaction from supporters of Southern heritage.
As they neared Oxford, Hervey expressed a desire to stop at a convenience store and get some fried chicken. Since he knew the area better than she did, she let him take over driving the Ford Explorer. When they stopped at the convenience store, she remained in the vehicle, she told me, because she “did not feel safe.”
Not long after they got back onto the road (Highway 6), with Barnum in the passenger seat, checking her Facebook page, she suddenly heard Hervey yell out. She looked over to see a silver or gray car driving alongside them on the highway. Their windows were down, and she could see some “angry-looking black guys” yelling at Hervey. She could not make out what they were saying, as Hervey’s window was not down.
At this point, Hervey accelerated and left the chasing vehicle behind. Then the pursuers drove around to the passenger side, alongside Barnum. Hervey jerked the Explorer across the road and ran into the ditch. At that point, the silver vehicle sped on, but when Hervey jerked the SUV back onto the road, he overcorrected, and the SUV began to spin.
“It rolled over hard,” Barnum was quoted by the New York Times. “With each roll, it felt like ‘I’m not dead yet. Which one of these rolls is going to kill me?'”
After the rolling finally stopped, and with the Explorer resting on its roof, upside down, Barnum told me that she was concerned that the men in the silver vehicle might try to finish them off. Because she did not know how to place an emergency phone call on her I-phone, she posted on Facebook, “HELP ... They after us. My vehicle inside down.” She explained to me that she wanted someone to know that they had been attacked, in case the men in the silver car came back and killed them.
She spoke to Hervey, but he did not respond. Finally, she heard someone banging on her vehicle, yelling that gas was leaking, and that she needed to get out of the vehicle. They pulled her out, and she was transported to Baptist Hospital, where she was treated for her injuries, later learning that Hervey had died. When she left the hospital, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) escorted her. When they reached Arkansas, Arkansas members of the SCV took over her protection. When they reached Oklahoma, Oklahoma SCV members escorted her the rest of the way home.
Barnum served in the U.S. Army from 1973-1977, and eventually married a man who was a Vietnam veteran. He died in 2010, and she is now a 60-year-old widow.
She told me that her Southern pride was instilled into her from the time she was a little girl, growing up in Louisiana, explaining that she listened as her great-grandmother, Artilla White, told her many family stories. Barnum said that back in those days, they did not send older family members off to the “old folks home.”
As a young girl, Barnum knew that her family “did not like the North,” as they told stories of how the Union army had burned up the land, raping the women, and leaving many, black and white, homeless. Her ancestor, Richard Stills, she told me, was a Confederate soldier.
“The NAACP needs to stop the race-baiting,” Barnum told me. If the organization does not stop, she fears that we are going to see a “race war” in this country.
Anthony Hervey observed 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.... The political correctness of today is killing the pride of the people.”