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Statue of First Black Student at Ole Miss Vandalized in Most Racist Way

Statue of First Black Student at Ole Miss Vandalized in Most Racist Way

The perpetrator, a white student, has pleaded guilty to the crime.

Published March 25, 2016

Ole Miss's racist past has reared it's ugly head once again.

Former student Austin Reed Edenfield has pleaded guilty to hanging a noose around a statue that commemorates the university's first Black student. A federal court filing shows that Edenfield waved indictment and pleaded guilty to an unspecified criminal charge. Edenfield was supposed to plead months ago, but U.S. District Judge Michael Mills delayed the initial court date for reasons that have yet to be publicly explained. 

It is still unknown what Edenfield was actually charged with, but his plea bargain comes with a possible sentence of up to a year in prison.

Edenfield was part of a group of Ole Miss students who took part in the crime in February 2014. The group wrapped a noose and hung the Georgia state flag, complete with a Confederate battle emblem, around the statue of James Meredith, who made history by being the first Black student to attend a racially segregated Ole Miss University in 1962.

Along with Edenfield, prosecutors accused fellow former student Graeme Philip Harris of organizing the symbolic lynching, and a third student who was involved in the incident as well. Harris pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges after prosecutors agreed to drop the felony charge. The third student was not charged. All three, however, have withdrawn from Ole Miss.

BET News correspondent Marc Lamont Hill congratulated Mizzou student protesters and students across the U.S. fighting racism on campus. It seems clear that Ole Miss could use a similar kind of student activism to make sure a disgusting act like this never happens again:

(Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Written by Evelyn Diaz

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