Anthony Hervey — a 49-year-old black activist known for being a vocal proponent of the Confederate flag — died Sunday in a car crash caused by a car-full of black hecklers who chased and verbally attacked Hervey, driving his vehicle off the Mississippi highway.
Hervey was driving home from a rally to preserve the Linn Park Confederate Monument in Birmingham, Alabama, the Daily Mail reports. The memorial is soon to be removed from the park pursuant to a recent vote by Birmingham political leaders.
Hervey was a well-known black activist for preserving the Confederate flag who’s advocacy dates back to more than two decades ago.
In his efforts to oppose movements to change or remove the flag, Hervey often protested by sporting Rebel soldier attire and waving the Confederate flag in Oxford Square, Mississippi.
His reasoning? To honor and raise awareness about the black soldiers who served in the Confederate army during the Civil War.
“[Defending the Confederate flag] is not racism,” Hervey said in 2001 interview reported by Daily Mail. “This is my heritage. [It’s] standing up for home.”
In the car with Hervey was another black Confederate flag supporter, Arlene Barnum, who survived the crash.
Barnum said that the 2005 Ford Explorer crashed when Hervey swerved to avoid another vehicle that pulled up beside them containing about four or five young black men who were shouting angrily at the Confederate flag activists.
“It spun like crazy and we flipped, flipped, flipped,” Barnum recounted to a Mississippi state trooper. “It was awful.”
Shortly after the crash, Barnum was able to post pleas for help to Facebook.
“HELP .. They after us. My vehicle inside down,” Barnum posted. “Anthony Hervy pinned in ., gas leaking.”
State troopers arrived at the scene shortly thereafter and immediately transported Barnum to the hospital.
The car Hervey was driving was not decorated with Rebel propaganda of any kind that would have tipped off the attackers to their identities. But Barnum says she is positive that they were targeted.
Nonetheless, Anthony Hervey will be missed by fellow advocates for his vocal and active leadership in honoring black Rebel soldiers by preserving Confederate symbolism.
In 2006, Hervey authored “Why I Wave the Confederate Flag, Written by a Black Man,” in which he fully accounts for his reasoning in dedicating his life, which was cut short on Sunday, to this cause.
“[In this book,] I show that the Civil War was not fought over slavery and that the demise of my race in America is not of the White man, but rather of our own making,” Hervey wrote. “I show how Blacks in America ran away from physical bondage to one far worse — mental bondage.”
“This book is about truth and passion,” the introductory description in Hervey’s book reads.
“What makes this book dangerous is its raw honesty,” the description says. “Mr. Hervey lifts the veil of Black decadence at the same time he exposes the lies and political correctness of modern day America.”
The Clarion-Ledger’s original report of the accident described Hervey as “a piece of Oxford history” and “an Oxford fixture for at least the last two decades.”
Since the accident, friends, family and Oxford community members have reiterated a similar non-invasive and amicable portrayal of Anthony Hervey.
“I think he’s just trying to get his message out in a nice way,” Paul Gandy told WTVA.
In addition, friend Keelan Stokes explained that Hervey’s mission was to extract the truth from myth and political party rhetoric, and deliver a message to enlighten others — not change their beliefs.
“People didn’t like him because he was disturbing the peace,” Stokes stated. “[But] they are so saturated with all of these political agendas that honesty seems extreme.”
“He [was] just trying to be honest with how the world is,” Stokes remembered, “Just trying to promote love and equality between everybody.”
Mississippi police have confirmed that the accident is under investigation.