The Mississippi Sons of Confederate Veterans is suing the University of Mississippi to remove the plaque contextualizing the Confederate soldier statue in the Circle, Mississippi Today reported.
The lawsuit was originally filed in September 2014 was transferred from the county’s chancery court to the circuit court’s docket, remaining untouched until this week.
The petition for injunction does not state the exact action the group wants taken by the university. It was amended this summer to include language about the plaque, alluding that the language does not accurately portray the historic meaning of the monument.
There have been two different plaques in front of the statue since last semester, the second one containing revised language after considering feedback from several groups on and off campus. The first one was laid in March after a statement was released from Chancellor Jeffery Vitter and the second was placed earlier this semester.
The plaque was installed this summer as part of the university’s 2014 diversity action plan, which includes contextualizations Confederate symbols on campus with historic markers. The plaque’s language and wording stirred controversy and received criticism for weeks after the first wording lacked mention of slavery or the outcome of the war leading to the abolition of slavery in the United States.
Both student and faculty groups, like the NAACP and university history faculty, released statements about the plaque’s language and calling for a rewording to reflect a more accurate historic description.
The wording now reads:
“As Confederate veterans were dying in increasing numbers, memorial associations across the South built monuments in their memory. These monuments were often used to promote an ideology known as the ‘Lost Cause,’ which claimed that the Confederacy had been established to defend states’ rights and that slavery was not the principal cause of the Civil WAr. Residents of Oxford and Lafayette County dedicated this statue, approved by the university, in 1906. Although the monument was created to honor the sacrifice of local Confederate soldiers, it must also remind us that the defeat of the Confederacy actually meant freedom for millions of people. On the evening of September 30, 1962, this statue was rallying point for opponents of integrations.
“This historic statue is a reminder of the university’s divisive past. Today, the University of Mississippi draws from that past a continuing commitment to open its hallowed halls to all who seek truth, knowledge, and wisdom.”
The university’s counsel is preparing a response to the amended petition, Mississippi Today also reported.
The Daily Mississippian will continue to report on this story as it develops.
The original story can be found at MississippiToday.org.