Printed on: February 19, 2014

Noose is tied on integration statue


OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- The FBI on Tuesday was helping investigate who tied a noose around the neck of a University of Mississippi statue of James Meredith, who, in 1962, became the first black student to enroll in the then all-white Southern college.

University police on Sunday morning found the rope noose and, on the statue's face, a pre-2003 Georgia state flag with a Confederate battle symbol, said campus police Chief Calvin Sellers. Two men were seen near the statue early Sunday, and investigators were looking at surveillance footage.

"It's a racial hate crime," Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson said Tuesday at the state Capitol in Jackson. "At what level do they get prosecuted? I don't know. But as long as we tolerate hate, we will continue to revisit history and the past of this state, and at some point we must move forward."

In a statement, Chancellor Dan Jones condemned the action as contrary to the beliefs and values of the university community.