June 18, 2020
At long last, our Institutions of Higher Learning (aka the “college board”) has acted to relocate a controversial monument honoring the old Confederacy on the University of Mississippi campus. IHL board president, Ford Dye, is quoted in press reports as saying that the board “reviewed the detailed plans for the new site, considered events on college campuses across the South involving Confederate monuments, and listened to the University’s various constituency groups. The Board subsequently determined relocating the Confederate statue to be most appropriate for Ole Miss moving forward.”
That’s a lot of review, listening, and discussion to reach a decision that ought to be a no-brainer at this stage of the game. While the university’s founding predates the Civil War by more than a decade, the Confederate monument itself (a lone armed soldier gazing toward a distant horizon) dates only to 1906, part of a wave of Confederacy celebration in the South marking the defeat of Reconstruction-era policy and the solidification of Jim Crow white supremacy.
Give credit to UM students – A multiracial group developed a plan last year to move the monument to a campus cemetery containing the remains of Confederate soldiers. The plan had apparently earned consensus approval by all sectors the university community before IHL hung up the plan’s implementation, when a member asked for “more information.”
Apparently, the persistent George Floyd insurrection and reckoning provided the board with the revelation it needed – that the stone soldier is definitely looking backward, not forward, and the cemetery is certainly the right resting place for it.