Fast-forward a month later to the death of Anthony Hervey in July. Hervey plays an interesting role in the saga for a few reasons. The most fascinating is the fact that he was not only a supporter of the confederate flag, but that he also happens to be black. His death adds fuel to the fiery debate. Hervey isn't the only one. Other individuals that would come to be known as the "Black Rebels" were the unlikely “rock stars” of this movement.
Anthony Hervey was one of the oldest black supporters of the confederate flag. A native of Oxford, MS, Hervey was known as being a “strange” fellow from the beginning from those who knew him, partly because of his views. He advocated at Ole Miss against the removal of the flag from the South Carolina state capitol back in the early '00s. He also wrote a book titled “Why I Wave the Confederate Flag, Written by a Black Man: The End of N — -rism and the Welfare State” in which he discusses his views on the flag and the current state of the black community. He remained a staple supporter in future protests throughout the south.
Other Black flaggers have come to the forefront including Karen Cooper, a member of the Virginia flaggers. A native New Yorker, former member of the Nation of Islam who sports a hairstyle with locs, Cooper definitely stands out. She is a Tea Partier and believes that “slavery was a choice.” She is featured in the documentary “Battle Flag” where she discusses her origins and reasoning behind her views.
There have been many others who have defended the flag claiming that the confederate goal was primarily defending states’ rights and that slavery was not the focal point. The Confederacy involved secessionist states who indeed wanted to preserve states’ rights but a major element to preserving their rights was the institution of slavery. The narrative being pushed by pro-confederate supporters pick and choose elements of history that complement that narrative. It's aligned with that of white supremacists and can be dangerous down the road when discussing history, the state of race relations and racial reconciliation.
The fact that descendants of slaves would support such a symbol leaves many dumbfounded. Stockholm Syndrome, self-hatred and several other theories have been applied to the case of the black confederates. Regardless, the Black Rebel movement is gaining steam.
Hervey’s legacy is one of much discussion, especially regarding the circumstances of his death. His passenger claims that a car full of black men (some have speculated that they were NAACP members. This is being disputed) chased them after a pro-confederate rally earlier that day and ran them off of the road, resulting in Hervey’s demise. The official report from the MS Highway Patrol disputes that there were other cars on the road at the time of the accident. Investigation into the circumstances behind Hervey’s death is still underway but his status as an unlikely martyr for the confederate cause is in full swing.
Sache Primeaux-Shaw is a 20 something community organizer, politco and cultural competency instructor from OKC. In her spare time, she blogs about missing women of color in the media (www.whereareourbrownsisters.com) and women of color in politics (www.browngirlpolitics.com). You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram and her personal blog.