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.
______________