Status of Projects
On this page you will find the status of contextualization project undertaken by the University of Mississippi that assist in telling more of the story of the university’s history.
The Confederate Statue at Lyceum Circle
In summer 2015, Interim Chancellor Dr. Morris Stocks appointed a committee to address the action item from the 2014 Action Plan related to the context of campus sites. The committee, comprised of Drs. Donald Cole, Andrew Mullins, Charles Ross, and David Sansing, was charged to draft the language for a contextualization plaque for the Confederate Statue at Lyceum Circle. The resulting language was inscribed on a plaque installed in front of the statue in mid-March, 2016.
Once the plaque was installed, the committee and Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter received a great deal of input from the community. Three important messages emerged from that feedback: (a) lack of awareness of the committee and its work, (b) insufficient opportunities for community input, and (c) suggestions to change the wording on the plaque.
The committee expressed their desire to consider further input and reexamine whether the language on the plaque should be changed and, if so, how. After considerable input and study, the committee made its final recommendation, which was approved by Chancellor Vitter. The new plaque reads as follows:
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 a rallying point for opponents of integration.
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.
Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on History and Context
Going forward, the CACHC will examine other campus sites for potential contextualization so as to better explain the environments in which they were created or named and how those environments compare to our core values as an institution. Three sites previously suggested for contextualization include Johnson Commons, Lamar Hall, and Vardaman Hall. The CACHC has a dual charge: to recommend which sites on campus should be contextualized, and once reviewed and a final list accepted, to design the content and format to contextualize the designated sites.
Result of CACHC Phase I
The CACHC worked diligently throughout the Fall 2016 semester, completing Phase I of its charge and forwarding a recommended list of physical sites for contextualization to the chancellor’s office. The list, which consists of ten specific physical sites, received unanimous support of the committee.
Specific CACHC-recommended action includes two items:
- Vardaman Hall (to be renamed through University processes, upon IHL approval)
- Johnson Commons (to add “Sr.” on building, further specifying nominee)
The CACHC also recommended contextualization of the following monuments, buildings, or street names:
- Lamar Hall
- Barnard Observatory
- Longstreet Hall
- George Hall
- Antebellum sites: Barnard Observatory, Croft Hall, the Lyceum, and Hilgard Cut — plaque to be placed just west of Croft, within site of the first three buildings, noting that these four projects were all constructed with slave labor
On February 22, 2017, Chancellor Vitter reviewed and finalized the recommendations from the CACHC on Phase I of the charge. The current status of the Phase II work, which involves doing the actual contextualization, is described on the Community Engagement page.