BY EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Supervisors in two Mississippi counties voted Monday not to move Confederate monuments that stand in front of courthouses.
One vote happened Neshoba County, where three civil rights workers were killed and buried in an earthen dam in 1964 in what the FBI called the “Mississippi Burning” case. The other happened in Lauderdale County, where those civil rights workers had been based.
Confederate monuments have come under increased scrutiny recently amid widespread protests over racial injustice.
Black Empowerment Organization was supported by the Southern Poverty Law Center in asking Neshoba County supervisors to remove the Confederate soldier statue. The figure stands outside the courthouse where a jury in 2005 convicted a reputed former Ku Klu Klan leader, Edgar Ray Killen, of manslaughter in the 1964 killings of the three civil rights workers — Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman.
“Our public buildings, landmarks, and institutions should not conceal the truth about our shared history, and should not be used as a backdrop to glorify traitors to the United States,” Brandon Jones, Mississippi policy director for the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, said in a statement Monday.
“Confederate monuments are symbols of white supremacy,” Jones said. “They continue to further the false narrative that the Civil War was fought for something other than to keep Black people enslaved.”
Lauderdale County is going to turn its current courthouse into a history museum after it moves government operations to a different building. Supervisors’ President Kyle Rutledge said the statue’s current location is “a fitting place,” WTOK-TV reported.