As the sun rose Tuesday morning, workers began the process of moving the controversial Confederate monument at the University of Mississippi.
The 30-foot monument has greeted visitors at the university’s main entrance as the campus’ most visible ode to the Lost Cause since it was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1906.
Students, faculty, staff and administrators adopted a student-developed plan in 2019 that would move the statue from its central location to a Confederate graveyard in a quieter corner of campus. The politically appointed board of trustees of the Institutions for Higher Learning signed off on the plan last month after several weeks of procedural delays.
Workers began disassembling the statue at dawn Tuesday morning to little fanfare. The date of the move, which university officials had broadly signaled would occur “as quickly as possible,” had not been announced publicly. As a worker began sawing the stone soldier off its pedestal at dawn, there were no bystanders. One university police officer watched from his parked patrol car.
Crews are expected to have completed the statue’s move to the cemetery by the end of the day.
The approved plans to move the statue were met with criticism as sketches of the renovated cemetery leaked. As additional details of the $1.15 million cemetery renovation trickled into the public sphere, students and faculty fumed over the plans.
One proposal, which was shared with IHL board members, called for the university to construct a well-lit brick path to the monument. A new marker and gravestones would also be added to the cemetery to “recognize the men from Lafayette County who served in the Union Army as part of the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War,” the proposal stated.
Benches would be placed in the cemetery, and cameras would be installed around the cemetery to allow the University Police Department to monitor it.
Anne Twitty, associate professor of history at UM, was a member of the committee that in part was tasked with creating plaques that contextualized vestiges of slavery and the Confederacy around campus.
“This fantasy that you can go into this resting place and put up headstones when you don’t know exactly who was still there, and when you don’t know where they’re located on that plot — that strikes me as deeply offensive,” Twitty told Mississippi Today last month. “I think what that rendering sort of suggests is a kind of Confederate-palooza that the university wants to establish in its back forty, and it just means that they’re replacing one site for Lost Cause nostalgia, which is currently at the entrance to our campus, with another one.”
University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce released a statement in the wake of the criticism, clarifying that the leaked proposal was not the final one and that several aspects of the leaked renderings would not be implemented.
The students who developed the plans to move the monument from the center of campus criticized university leaders for the proposed cemetery renovations, saying in a statement they “strongly oppose any measures that would uplift white supremacist narratives or glorify the Confederacy.”
“We urge the University of Mississippi administration to refrain from renovations of the cemetery that would amplify ahistorical and racist Confederate narratives,” the students said. “The unanimously passed resolution called for relocating the monument to a less prominent place on campus. We did not co-sign onto a project beautifying the Lost Cause.”
Two killed and multiple injured in Friday’s six-vehicle crash on Interstate 20
On Friday, Oct. 16, at around 8:40 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop F responded to a six-vehicle crash on Interstate 20 eastbound west of the village of Delta.
This crash claimed the lives of two men and involved four commercial motor vehicles (18-wheelers) and two passenger vehicles.
Troopers have been working since yesterday evening to identify victims and determine the events of the crash with many factors remaining under investigation at this time.
Although the exact sequence of events in the crash remains under investigation, the preliminary findings revealed a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado and a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer were struck by at least one of the 18-wheelers involved.
The driver of the Silverado, identified as 36-year-old Jose Luis Venegas-Nuno of Dallas, TX, and the driver of the Trailblazer, whose name is being withheld pending notification, were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Four additional vehicle occupants from both the passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers were taken to local hospitals with moderate/severe injuries.
Interstate 20 eastbound was closed for approximately eight hours as investigators and vehicle recovery crews worked to clear the roadway. The crash investigation remains active and ongoing.
In 2020, Troop F has investigated 39 fatal crashes resulting in 42 deaths.
Mangham police officer in critical condition; suspect in custody
Mangham Police Officer Marshall Waters is in critical yet stable condition after being shot during a traffic stop Saturday afternoon.
At approximately 1 p.m., Waters executed a traffic stop heading southbound on LA 425 near the Franklin / Richland parish line. Officer Waters was shot by a subject who fled the scene of the stop southbound on US 425 into Franklin Parish.
Waters was transported to Franklin Medical Center for treatment and later transported to Rapides Hospital via helicopter.
At approximately 2:30 pm, the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office was notified of a crashed vehicle on LA Highway 562 near Fort Necessity that matched the description of the subject’s vehicle.
The suspect, Hermandus Dashanski Semien, of Ville Platte, LA, was apprehended placed into custody by the Franklin Parish Sheriffs Office.
Mangham Police Chief Perry Fleming expressed his gratitude on Facebook to all who have called, texted and prayed for Officer Marshall Waters and to the many responding officers who assisted.
Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb also took to social media to thank the many law enforcement agencies responded and assisted in the ultimate apprehension of Semien and extended his thoughts and prayers to the Officer Waters, Chief Perry Fleming, Sheriff Gary Gilley and the law enforcement community of Richland Parish.
Pedestrian struck by vehicle in Warren County
A pedestrian is in the hospital after being struck by a vehicle in Warren County.
The collision occurred just before 7 p.m. Saturday on Highway 80 near Business Park Drive.
The victim was transported to Merit Health River Region with serious injuries.
Multiple State Troopers along with several Warren County Deputies responded to the crash, along with Vicksburg and Warren County Fire Fighters.
The Vicksburg Daily News will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
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