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“There Is No Excuse”: University of Mississippi Faculty Members Condemn Proposed “Shrine to White Supremacy”

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tags: racism, Confederacy, Mississippi, monuments, public history



 

What was not part of the original plan crafted by the student group was a newly beautified university cemetery complete with new headstones, paths, and enhanced lighting. The relocation of the statue had always been considered a compromise gesture that would at least move the racist monument from its prominent position to a dusty, forgotten corner of campus; the intention was never to spend $1.15 million to revamp the cemetery as a shrine to white supremacy. The courageous students who have been fighting to get the statue moved, and who should have never had to carry the burdens of white supremacy, are the best of Mississippi. Joshua Mannery, the Associated Student Body president, along with Leah Davis, Arielle Hudson, and Jarvis Benson, three brilliant alums, reached out to the English department at the University of Mississippi for our support. This is our statement.

Statement From Members of the University of Mississippi English Department on Plans to Relocate the Confederate Cenotaph

We, the undersigned members of the English department, are appalled at the plans to renovate the Civil War cemetery on campus and to place the cenotaph commemorating Confederate soldiers at its heart. Our objections are not merely to the details of the site, but to the special function that this monument serves as a declaration of the university’s values. The notion that the cenotaph was an expression of grief rather than a celebration of white supremacy and Black oppression has been thoroughly debunked by professor Anne Twitty’s recent discovery of the full text of the dedicatory speech, which makes it clear that the statue is a monument to white Southerners’ triumph in the “systematic campaign of violence and intimidation against Black Southerners to ensure that the Confederacy’s defeat would not also mean the end of white supremacy.” The work of such sentiments should be evacuated from campus space, not glorified there through lavish new expenditures.

Read entire article at Vanity Fair

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