“The University of Mississippi is taking major strides in acknowledging its racist history. The institution, affectionately known as Ole Miss, announced plans on Thursday to recognize pre-Civil War campus buildings that were built by slaves. . . . in addition to placing plaques on buildings built by slaves, the university will also remove the name of white supremacist James K. Vardaman from a campus building. Vardaman was the governor of Mississippi from 1904 to 1908.
‘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. Ole Miss famously became embroiled in racial tension and violence in 1962, when James Meredith became the first black student to attend the institution as the result of court-ordered integration.
The move is part of an ongoing process on the campus to reconcile with its past, provide historical context, and create a more welcoming environment for a diverse student body. In recent years, the university has had several instances of racism, including a 2015 incident in which a noose was placed around the neck of a James Meredith statue on campus.”