Unlikely Confederate flag supporter killed in crash
In a town where Confederate soldier statues stand sentinel on the courthouse square and a university campus, Anthony Hervey remained an anomaly — a black man who draped himself in the Confederate battle flag and publicly declared his loyalty to the secessionist Lost Cause and his belief that the Civil War was not fought over slavery.
Hervey, 49, died Sunday when the sport utility vehicle he was driving flipped into a ditch beside Mississippi Highway 6 near Oxford. He and another black Confederate supporter were returning home after speaking at an event to support a Confederate monument in Birmingham, Alabama.
The passenger, Arlene Barnum of Stuart, Oklahoma, survived. She said Hervey lost control of the vehicle after they were chased by a silver or grey sedan carrying four or five black men.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol is interviewing witnesses and reconstructing the crash, said patrol spokesman Johnny Poulos. The local coroner, Rocky Kennedy, said Tuesday that he was waiting for autopsy results.
Hervey was well known in Oxford and at the University of Mississippi, where students waved Confederate flags for decades to cheer the Rebels.
In Hervey’s 2006 book, “Why I Wave the Confederate Flag, Written by a Black Man,” he said the Civil War was not fought over slavery and that he was supporting black soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War.
Barnum said organizers of Saturday’s Alabama event had asked her to give Hervey a ride there. She said she didn’t know him previously.
Barnum and Hervey both spoke at the rally, and Barnum said she burned an NAACP membership card during her speech. A video shows the crowd cheered when Hervey said he doesn’t like black people or white people, “but I love me some Southerners.”
The public display of Confederate symbols has come under fresh scrutiny since the June 17 massacre of nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The white man charged in the killings had posed with a Confederate battle flag in photos posted online before the attack.
Barnum said as she and Hervey were travelling home Sunday, she let Hervey drive. She said he stopped at a convenience store, and she remained in the vehicle as he went in, wearing a Confederate kep. Barnum said soon after they left the store, a car with four or five young black men pulled up near them.
“They were angry with Mr. Hervey,” Barnum said. “Mr. Hervey sped up and said, ‘Hell, no.’ ... He really had to gun it on the gas pedal.”
She said the car ran Hervey off the highway, and the SUV rolled over. Barnum said she unbuckled herself . She said he was breathing but didn’t respond.
Hervey died at the scene. Funeral arrangements had not been made by Tuesday.
Anthony Hervey holds a Confederate flag at the Confederate monument in Oxford, Miss. in 2008. The Highway Patrol says 49-year-old Hervey was killed July 19, 2015 in a car crash on his way home from a pro-Confederate flag rally.