Several black student organizations have come together to host the Black History Month March at noon Thursday. The march will begin at Lamar Hall and end at the Confederate statue in the Circle.
“The purpose of this protest is to call attention to the issue of the Confederate statue that sits at the heart of our campus,” said Jarrius Adams, a member of the UM Gospel Choir. “This statue is not just stone and metal. It is not just an innocent remembrance of a benign history. This statue celebrates a fictional, sanitized Confederacy, ignoring the deaths, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror it actually stood for.”
Participating university organizations include the gospel choir, Black Student Union, Men of Excellence Organization, E.S.T.E.E.M., National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Pan-Hellenic Council, Louis Stokes Mississippi Alliance for Minority Participation for Increasing Minority Access to Graduate Education Program and the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students.
While the Black History Month March has been planned for months, it falls days before the Mississippi Stands Rally is set to take place. Two groups — Confederate 901 and the Hiwaymen — plan to march from the Square to the Circle on Saturday to protest the removal of Confederate symbols on campus.
“We want to encourage students to come help us take an active step in addressing the Confederate symbols on the heart of our campus by marching peacefully,” Men of Excellence president André Smith said.
Smith also encouraged students to avoid the Square and Circle on during the Confederate march on Saturday.
According to an email sent by the Black Student Union, the student groups plan to hold a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Union Ballroom to “discuss the logistics of the march, create signs and talk about next steps and a call to action.” Students are encouraged to bring supplies to create their own posters.