The state of Mississippi is picturesque, filled with green spaces, rivers and streams that go a long way toward clearing the mind.
However, it’s impossible to have a true clear mind without knowing and acknowledging what it is the incontrovertible truth. From a racial perspective, that uncomfortable truth has been the nefarious blade that has consistently divided Blacks and Whites in the Magnolia state since before it even became a state.
The dialectic of telling the truth about American racism, and the contributions that generation after generation of forced servitude made toward building the foundation of the country, is a tenuous, back-and-forth argument with both sides swearing the other is subhuman. With that type of animus, it’s virtually impossible to come to any consensus on issues of race, especially in the deep south.
But every once in a while, an olive branch will appear. Even a small, sickly looking olive branch is better than none at all, I guess.
Assistant Provost Dr. Donald Cole On Potential Vardaman Hall Name Change
Uploaded by Hotty Toddy on 2017-03-07.
On Thursday, it was announced that the University of Mississippi will post a sign acknowledging that slaves built some of the structures on the main campus founded before the Civil War, which is a no brainer actually.
Also, Ole Miss announced that they will strip the name of James K. Vardaman off a building that bears his name, Vardaman Hall.
A proud and unapologetic racist and white supremacist, Vardaman was Mississippi’s governor from 1904 to 1908 and a U.S. senator from 1913 to 1919.
These changes are meant to provide historical context to the Oxford campus, which exploded in turmoil following the federally mandated integration in 1962. A plaque was already added to provide information about slavery and the Civil War to a Confederate soldier statue near the Lyceum, the main administrative building on campus.
The moves are being made to make a more diverse student body feel comfortable, according to school administration.
“As an educational institution, it is imperative we foster a learning environment and fulfill our mission by pursuing knowledge and understanding,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said in a news release.
Jeff Vitter on Twitter
Contextualization is an additive process, not a subtractive one.” Pleased to share final history & context report: https://t.co/EXUdYtja8I
These changes come amid a nationwide debate regarding public displays of symbols and monuments to the Confederacy. New Orleans recently removed Confederate monuments. Harvard University this year acknowledged its ties to colonial-era slavery, and Yale University rebranded a residential college that had been named for a 19th century U.S. vice president who supported slavery.
All eight of Mississippi’s public universities have stopped flying the state flag because it includes the Confederate battle emblem.
Vardaman, whose name will be removed from the Ole Miss building, called for lynching black people to maintain white supremacy and he also argued that education ruined black Mississippians. One of his top priorities was the dismantling of African-American education in the state.