Noose Tied on Ole Miss Integration Statue

ABC News, February 18, 2014

The FBI on Tuesday was helping investigate who tied a noose around the neck of a University of Mississippi statue of James Meredith, who, in 1962, became the first black student to enroll in the then all-white Southern college.

University police on Sunday morning found the rope noose and, on the statue’s face, a pre-2003 Georgia state flag with a Confederate battle symbol, said campus police Chief Calvin Sellers. Two men were seen near the statue early Sunday and investigators were looking at surveillance footage.

“It’s a racial hate crime,” Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson said Tuesday after a news conference at the state Capitol in Jackson. “At what level do they get prosecuted? I don’t know. But as long as we tolerate hate, we will continue to revisit history and the past of this state, and at some point we must move forward.”

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About 150 Ole Miss students, black and white, rallied around the Meredith statue Tuesday to protest the vandalism, according to Charlie Mitchell, a journalism professor who attended the event. They held posters with several hand-written slogans, including, “Justice for African-Americans,” ”Respect the Students” and “This is Our University.” {snip}

Johnson said there is a problem with Old South imagery at Ole Miss.

“You cannot have a university where, when you turn down the main drag, it’s called Confederate Drive. . . . At some point, we’re going to have to reverse course on the image of Ole Miss so we can reverse course on the image of the state of Mississippi,” he said.

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