We are not yet out of February which means that Black History Month is not over. This means that somewhere at this very moment a child may be reading about James Meredith. In 1962, Meredith was the first African American student admitted to the previously segregated University of Mississippi.
Almost fifty years after Meredith’s historic graduation from Ole Miss, three students thought it would be funny to hang a noose around his statue. Also around tied around the statue’s neck was the old Georgia state flag and the Confederate battle flag.
The incident occurred last weekend and it resulted in an outpouring of condemnation and outrage.
A $25,000 reward was offered for any information that would lead to the identity of the party or parties responsible. By Wednesday three students were identified as responsible for the “desecration” of the Meredith statue.
The three teens, whose identities have not been released, are said to be white freshman and each 19 years of age.
After James Meredith statue at Ole Miss was vandalized w/ a noose, student keeps watch. Via Prof Deirdre Cooper Owens pic.twitter.com/RuzohhqRpd
— Irin Carmon (@irin) February 21, 2014
There is allegedly enough evidence for Ole Miss to build a case against two of the three young men and possibly punish them.
Though law enforcement officials are seeking to try the students criminally for the act, there is no certainty as to whether there is any precedence that would allow for a criminal prosecution. FBI Special Agent Daniel McMullen has said that officials would be expanding their investigation to see if there were any federal violations.
The students are said to have each retained the services of a lawyer.
The three young men were expelled from the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, which also stated they are suspending the Ole Miss chapter indefinitely.
Brian Warren Jr., the organization’s chief executive, said that it was an embarrassment to the fraternity that these young men were previously among their ranks.
“SigEp has championed racial equality and issues on diversity since 1959, when it became the first national fraternity to invite members of all races, creeds and religions to join its membership.”
Image via YouTube