Yesterday a small rally of pro-Confederate white supremacist supporters rallied around the Confederate statue on the campus of the University of Mississippi. H.K. Edgerton even made an appearance. His presence could have easily overshadowed the media’s coverage of this event, but for what took place just a few steps away inside the sports arena, where the Ole Miss Rebels basketball team took on Georgia.
During the singing of the National Anthem a number of African American players took a knee to protest what was taking place on their campus. It was a powerful statement that at once collapsed the past and present. The sight of black men protesting is a reminder of the attempts to keep their campus all white in the 1950s and the Confederate symbolism that had for so long been a part of its culture.
If you are upset that African American student athletes at #OleMiss are taking a knee in protest of a white supremacist rally on their campus than you might as well join these racists under the Confederate monument and carry a flag.
— Kevin M. Levin (@KevinLevin) February 23, 2019
But their protest yesterday was more than just a response to Edgerton and his merry band of Lost Cause followers. Their protest comes amidst continued controversy surrounding the state flag, which still contains the symbol of the Confederate flag. It also must be seen in response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August 2017 and more recent revelations of college activities that up until very recently embraced Confederate symbolism and racist imagery such as blackface and that have extended to at least two governors.
These kids spoke for all of us on that court yesterday and I thank them for their bravery.
By the way, Ole Miss defeated Georgia by one point. Way to go.