‘Largest Confederate funeral in a century’ says goodbye to a Southern black man

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The Deep South doesn’t get much deeper than Oxford, Mississippi. The same town that’s home to the Ole Miss Rebels and the university’s former mascot Colonel Reb, just held the largest Confederate funeral and procession the city has seen for over the last 100 years.

As reported by WTVA (of Tupelo, Miss.) and The Local Voice newspaper (of Oxford, Miss), both on Aug. 3, 2015, Anthony Hervey was laid to rest yesterday in what has been described as the largest Confederate funeral and procession seen in Oxford, Mississippi for at least the last century. Known in the press as a “black Confederate,” Hervey was an unabashed and unapologetic supporter of everything Confederate States of America, to include the iconic Confederate battle flag.

Hundreds of blacks and whites joined together at Oxford’s historic First Baptist Church to bid farewell to the political activist and best selling author. As The Local Voice noted, at the main doors to the church, family and friends first saw “H.K. Edgarton welcoming funeral attendees with an open heart. Another black Southern man with a passion for the Confederate flag.”

As Katelyn Patterson of WTVA noted, while Edgarton was still clutching his Confederate flag, officials at First Baptist requested he take the banner out of the church. “If my flag can’t go, I can’t go,” Edgerton said. “It would have been a huge disappointment for Anthony, especially to ask me to leave with the flag. He would have wanted me standing next to his casket with this flag,” he added.

Edgerton was upset by the fact he couldn’t remain in the church displaying the Confederate flag, so he elected to stand outside during the funeral service, still honoring his friend. After the church service, the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans dedicated to Hervey a military-style Confederate Honor Procession through the town square.

Delivering the eulogy was local physician Dr. Willis N. Dabbs, a white man. As reported, Dr. Dabbs stated, “I had the privilege of being Anthony Hervey’s Sunday School teacher. Anthony Hervey was unique. He was my friend.”

“Most of the people who fuss so much about the man never bothered to talk to him,” Dabbs later remarked. His comment drew many an “Amen” from those present.

As The Local Voice reported, “Hervey died under mysterious circumstances in a car crash on July 19 after speaking at a rally to save a Confederate memorial in Birmingham, Alabama. The only survivor of the accident, Arlene Barnum, told authorities and the media that the SUV Hervey and Barnum were traveling in was forced off the road by a carload of ‘angry young black men’ after Hervey stopped at a convenience store near the Pontotoc-Lafayette County border wearing a Confederate kepi [field cap].”

Meanwhile, the Clarion-Ledger (of Jackson, Miss.) reported on July 23, 2015, that the Mississippi Highway Patrol is still investigating the wreck and subsequent death. Meanwhile, “Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander in Chief Kelly Barrow called on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to direct the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to investigate the suspicious accident.”

Himself a US Army veteran, Hervey earned his degree from the University of Mississippi after his hitch in the service. It was then that he traveled to Great Britain where he enrolled at the University of London, where he eventually earned his Masters degree. While matriculating in England, Hervey also served as an intern in the British Parliament.

An accomplished author, Hervey penned the 2006 bestseller “Why I Wave the Confederate Flag, Written by a Black Man”. According to Amazon.com, his book reached #26 in the Political Philosophy category, edging out literary heavyweights such as George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four, Centennial Edition” and John Lock’s “The Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration”.