For roughly thirty minutes on Saturday night, two men illuminated the Confederate monument on the Square with the words ‘TAKE IT DOWN,’ using a projector mounted atop their car on South Lamar Boulevard.
Oxford Police Department (OPD) officers approached the protesters immediately to let them know that OPD was checking on whether they were legally allowed to display the message without a permit. Shortly after, OPD officers told the men to remove the projection.
Initially, OPD cited Section 7.3 of the City of Oxford Code of Ordinances, which addresses “specific district sign requirements” and “public service banners,” as the ordinance prohibiting the protesters from projecting onto the monument. Several hours later, though, OPD told The Daily Mississippian that it was actually Section 5.4 on site lighting and building illumination that made the projection illegal.
Officers said the protesters may have needed an additional permit from the county because while their projection was within Oxford city limits, the monument stands on county-owned property.
The two men said they were acting in support of Take It Down Oxford, a group established earlier this month to campaign for the removal of the Confederate monument from the Square. Supporters of the group have gathered between City Hall and Nielsen’s Department Store every day for the past three weeks protesting the monument’s current location.
“The monument causes harm and hurt to Black residents of Lafayette County,” a statement on Take It Down Oxford’s social media read. “It is a symbol that celebrates the Civil War, which was fought to keep Black people enslaved, as specifically cited in Mississippi’s documents of succession. The monument commemorates the Civil War’s meaning as a Lost Cause bravely fought by white southerners, when in reality, the Confederacy’s defeat meant freedom for millions of Black Americans.”
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting tomorrow June 22 at 5 p.m. in the Chancery Building to “hear both sides” of the argument to relocate the Confederate monument.