Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Black Confederates, A Subsidiary of Dixie Outfitters

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on August 9, 2012

Update, August 10: Near the end of this post, I wrote that “as far as I can tell, neither Barber nor Edgerton have ever explicitly claimed Heritage 411 to be a non-profit organization.”

I was wrong. They claim both non-profit status and that donations to Southern Heritage 411 are tax-deductable for donors:

To those of you who would like to make a tax deductible contribution to a non- profit organization and support H.K. Edgerton now, please make your checks payable to: Southern Heritage 411 and send it to:’
 
Southern Heritage 411, Inc.
P O Box 220
Odum GA 31555-0220
 
Dewey Barber
Owner, Dixie Outfitters
 
 

Judging from the Internet Way-back machine, this claim has been posted on the Heritage 411 website since (at least) July 2008, more than four years ago.

Kevin has made a couple of posts recently poking fun at H. K. Edgerton, and his frequent display (when not in Confederate uniform) of different shirts sold by Dixie Outfitters, frequently one with his own image emblazoned upon it. But there’s a method to this, and Edgerton’s sartorial choices need to be understood in the context of his business relationship with Dixie Outfitters. Southern Heritage 411 is a for-profit corporation, registered as such with Georgia Secretary of State from 2006 to 2010, when its license was dissolved because the company repeatedly failed to file its required annual re-registration. Although it is sometimes described as a non-for-profit organization (e.g., on Clint Lacy’s blog), and Edgerton solicits donations constantly, Heritage 411 has never been registered as such with the IRS or any state agency that I can find.

Did you ever wonder why Southern Heritage 411 is located in Georgia, when Edgerton lives 300+ miles away in North Carolina? Turns out, that’s easy — because Southern Heritage 411 is run by Dewey Barber, not H. K. Edgerton.


Dewey Barber, H. K. Edgerton and musician Terry Warren, via TerryWarren.net.
 

The Heritage 411 website is scattered with praise for Dixie Outfitters owner Dewey Barber, and an acknowledgment of Barber’s support for Edgerton (e.g., “HK’s main benefactor is Dewey Barber, who uses HK to sell merchandise from his business Dixie Outfitters“). But in fact, Edgerton is (or at least was, until 2010) effectively Barber’s employee, a junior officer in the company reporting to Barber, who has always been the primary contact for Heritage 411, and from 2007 t0 2010, was the CEO as well. The core truth, as outlined in official filings made by Heritage 411 in Georgia (accessible at the link above) is that Southern Heritage 411 is a for-profit business, run by Dewey Barber, with H. K. Edgerton as the public face of that business. It’s a deeply cynical arrangement, one that takes commercial advantage of Edgerton’s popularity among Confederate Heritage™ groups who embrace Edgerton and his theatrics as a sort of vaccination against being accused of some of the uglier attitudes and beliefs commonly associated with the Confederate flag. Barber’s Heritage 411 operation is, at its most benign interpretation, a sort of under-the-radar marketing enterprise, firing up the True Southrons and encouraging them to (not coincidentally) purchase Dixie Outfitters’ merchandise. It probably brings a good return on investment, too, given the effectiveness of a popular and high-profile representative like Edgerton.


Edgerton with (r.) Clint Lacy, whose blog, “Across Our Confederation,” falsely describes Southern Heritage 411 as a “non for profit resource.” Image via the John T. Coffee SCV Camp No. 1934.
 

As far as I can tell, neither Barber nor Edgerton have ever explicitly claimed Heritage 411 to be a non-profit organization, but they do seem perfectly content to let people believe they are, and to let others make that claim on their behalf. And Heritage 411 sure makes itself sound like a charitable organization. There’s nothing illegal about soliciting “donations” to a for-profit business like Heritage 411, but I’ll leave it for others to decide how ethical it is, given Edgerton’s continual solicitation of donations — he routinely appends an address for PayPal payments to his e-mails — and presenting himself as a lone voice, a committed and uncomplicated individual fighting the good fight for Southern Heritage™, without mentioning his formal business and legally-binding links to one of the best-known vendors of Confederate-themed merchandise in the country. I suspect there are a lot of folks, taken in by Edgerton’s apparent sincerity, who’ve donated money to Heritage 411 — money they may have been hard-pressed to give — thinking that they’re donating to a non-profit enterprise, when in fact Southern Heritage 411 is just another branch of the Dixie Outfitters’ marketing outreach.
______________

About these ads

17 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Margaret D. Blough said, on August 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I wonder if anyone has gotten into trouble with the IRS for claiming a deduction to Heritage 411 as a charitable deduction in the mistaken belief that Heritage 411 was a 501(c)(3) entity.

    • Andy Hall said, on August 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      Good question.

    • Kate said, on August 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      You can make a charitable donation to anyone for any purpose – the nonprofit designation is so the CHARITY doesn’t have to pay taxes. It doesn’t have anything to do with the tax status of the donors.

      • Andy Hall said, on August 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm

        You can make a “donation” to anyone you want, for whatever purpose. But the donor cannot list that as a charitable donation for purposes of a tax deduction, if the recipient does not have tax-exempt status. Given the way Edgerton is often portrayed, and the way he keeps the for-profit status of Heritage 411 on the DL, I suspect many of his donors believe they’re giving to a non-profit. They’re not.

        Getting back to Margaret’s query, the term “charitable donation” has a very specific meaning when we’re talking about the IRS and the tax code. If any of Heritage 411’s donors tried to write that contribution off their taxes as a charitable donation, they were wrong to do so, and are setting themselves up for closer scrutiny if that donation gets flagged as inappropriate.

        • Kate said, on August 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

          Sorry, I just now consulted the IRS web site, and you are right.

          I was mistaken.

          It does raise an interesting question.

          • Andy Hall said, on August 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

            It’s OK. Folks are welcome to give Edgerton and heritage 411 whatever they want — I’m just concerned that there’s a real lack of transparency about the nature of the organization they’re giving to.

  2. Foxessa said, on August 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Is there anything in this nation that isn’t committing fraud, from claiming lies as truth to financial misbehavior?

    • Andy Hall said, on August 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      It does seem that way sometimes.

    • Greg Fannin said, on August 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm

      Generally, this type of behaviour is reserved for the federal government … and they HATE any competition.

  3. Dan said, on August 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    The real question is “Where does the money go????” Does HK just pocket it?

    • Andy Hall said, on August 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      I have no idea, and make no allegation in that regard, apart from that it appears to go to Southern Heritage 411, a for-profit company headed by Dewey Barber, and fronted by Edgerton. As I’ve said in the post, I don’t think there’s anything illegal going on here. My concern is that, from what I’ve seen, many of Edgerton’s supporters are entirely unaware that he and Heritage 411 are a business, which likely change the way in which they interact with them.

  4. Mark said, on August 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    from http://southernheritage411.com/contributions.shtml

    Southern Heritage 411 Inc. is dependent upon the support of the public for its survival. We have no government grants or support in any form other than from the public through their contributions and purchasing of our products.

    All monies donated via contributions or through the purchase of our products will be used to advance our mission. We urge you to give generously and help us in our efforts to promote understanding and reconciliation.

    That comes very close to claiming outright that they are a non-profit, even if it doesn’t technically do so. I wonder if this statement could be used against them in a court of law.

    • Greg Fannin said, on August 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      I think they’re counting on people reading it carelessly and make a conclusion. If read carefully, the conclusion would be different.

      • Andy Hall said, on August 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm

        In fact, last last night I found where they explicitly claim to be non-profit, and that donations are tax-deductible for the donors (see the update at the very top of the post).

        It’s no longer implied, but explicitly stated. Not good.

  5. David Cassatt said, on August 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    This might be a bit off-topic, but I noticed the book Black Confederates by Charles Kelly Barrow, J. H. Segars and R. B. Rosenburg for sale at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine here in Frederick, MD. I have the feeling that this is another apologia for view that the “Lost Cause” had support among the enslaved. If so, I am rather disappointed that this would be displayed in the front window.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 300 other followers

%d bloggers like this: