By Tyler Carter, theRoot.com

In 2014, three white students put a noose around the neck of a statue commemorating the first African-American student to attend the University of Mississippi. For almost a year, student Correl Hoyle has maintained a protest in front of the statue.

Correl Hoyle holds his vigil before the James Meredith statue at the University of Mississippi.

Correl Hoyle holds his vigil before the James Meredith statue at the University of Mississippi.

If you walk across the middle of the University of Mississippi’s campus on any given day, you’ll probably see sophomore Correl Hoyle sitting in front of the statue of James Meredith, the first African American to integrate the University of Mississippi, in 1962.

During Valentine’s Day weekend in 2014, three young white men hung a noose around the neck of the statue of Meredith and wrapped a Confederate flag around it. Shortly after, Hoyle, an English major at the university, began holding a vigil in front of the statue.

“A lot of people assumed I was angry after the incident, but I was more so shocked,” Hoyle said. “Never have I experienced something like this at my doorstep, and I was more shocked, but also disappointed because things like this are still happening here. People are still living with the ideology that one race is … superior to the other, or one class of people is better than the other.”

The South, especially Mississippi, has a complex racial narrative, and the University of Mississippi has seen its fair share. In 2012 a white student wrote “N–ger” across a black student’s dorm door. Later that same year a mini-riot erupted on campus after President Obama was re-elected. Just last year, the renaming of Confederate Drive to Chapel Lane spurred a lawsuit against the university by the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, who want to preserve their “history.”

“Simple things like this go unnoticed,” Hoyle said. “If it is not talked about, it will happen again.”

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