Mississippi governor calls civil rights marker desecration photo ‘despicable’

Published 7:42 am Sunday, July 28, 2019

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant called a photograph of three Ole Miss students holding guns in front a bullet-ridden monument to a civil rights era victim as a “despicable” action.

Bryant shared an official statement on Twitter Saturday.

“I am deeply saddened by the choice made by the three students to pose in such a thoughtless and disrespectful way at the Emmett Till historical marker,” the governor tweeted.

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The photo Bryant referenced surfaced this month when journalism non-profit Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica published an article about it. The image shows three young men
posing with guns in front of a bullet-riddled sign honoring slain civil rights icon Emmett Till.

One of the students posted a photo to his private Instagram account in March showing the trio in front of a roadside plaque commemorating the site where Till’s body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River. The 14-year-old black youth was tortured and murdered in August 1955. An all-white, all-male jury acquitted two white men accused of the slaying.

“Mississippi has made significant strides toward racial reconciliation, and such despicable actions are not representative of the progress we have made.”