MS Rep. Karl Oliver issues statement on “lynching” post he made on Facebook

By Waverly McCarthy and Courtney Ann Jackson, MS News Now

Rep. Karl Oliver of Mississippi

With one click to post to Facebook, Representative Karl Oliver ignited a firestorm of controversy. The post noted that those in Louisiana taking down the monuments should be LYNCHED, in all capital letters.

The post said: “The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, “leadership” of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.”

A couple of his colleagues went ahead and hit “Like” on the post. It came to a head Monday morning, though, with leadership stepping in.

“I called him immediately and said this is not acceptable,” said Speaker Philip Gunn. “This is inappropriate. And you need to apologize for this.”

“I think his comment was inappropriate and I think it’s foolish,” added Lt. Governor Tate Reeves.

“The first two words out of my mouth and my statement or, I condemn his statements,” noted Gunn. “That’s the strongest word I could come up with is condemnation. If there’s a stronger word, I’ll keep searching for it.”

Oliver’s original Facebook posted, now taken down.

Don’t bother going to Facebook to look for that original post. It’s since been deleted. But by mid-afternoon Monday, Oliver seems to have deleted all his Facebook content or at least changed his privacy settings. Now, all you can see is his profile picture, cover photo and the apology.

His apology reads: 

I, first and foremost, wish to extend this apology for any embarrassment I have caused to both my colleagues and fellow Mississippians. In an effort to express my passion for preserving all historical monuments, I acknowledge the word “lynched” was wrong. I am very sorry. It is in no way, ever, an appropriate term. I deeply regret that I chose this word, and I do not condone the actions I referenced, nor do I believe them in my heart. I freely admit my choice of words was horribly wrong, and I humbly ask your forgiveness. Karl Oliver

His post, which had been shared over 240 times and received over 450 comments, spread quickly, finding it’s way to hundreds of people who have called him out as being a racist.

To see the original story and video report and read comments posted to MS News Now, click here.

For more Breaking News, click here.

Mississippi Cops Engage In ‘Systematic Targeting Of Black Residents,’ Lawsuit Alleges

By Nick Wing

Huffington Post Black Voices

Courtesy of the ACLU

The sheriff’s department of Madison County, Mississippi, methodically and often brutally targets black residents with a coordinated system of checkpoints and unconstitutional searches, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged in a federal lawsuit filed Monday.

These alleged tactics have left the black community of Madison “under a permanent state of siege,” the suit says.

In an 86-page complaint, the ACLU of Mississippi and the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP accuse the Madison County Sheriff’s Department of abusing its power to uphold racial segregation and oppression in Mississippi’s wealthiest county.

“For Black residents, Madison County is a Constitution-free zone where their right to equal protection under the law and against unreasonable searches and seizures is nonexistent,” Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi, said in a statement.

Madison County is approximately 57 percent white and 38 percent black, according to the 2010 Census. The population remains starkly divided along both racial and economic lines, however, with “predominantly Black towns, neighborhoods, and business districts and predominantly white towns, neighborhoods, and business districts,” according to the suit.

Read the entire article here

Read the full ACLU suit here

Read more Breaking News here

Horror Drove Her From South. 100 Years Later, She Returned.

By Dan Barry, New York Times

In 1915, Mamie Kirkland and her family fled Ellisville, Miss., in fear that her father would be lynched. She swore she would never return. But at age 107, she made the journey.

NAACP flyer showing that John Hartfield's lynching was planned ahead.

NAACP flyer showing that John Hartfield’s lynching was planned ahead.

…[Kirkland’s] father, Edward Lang, a laborer and aspiring minister, roused the house at 12:30 in the morning. “Rochelle, I got to leave,” she remembered him saying to her mother. “Get the children together.”

Family lore has it that people wanted to lynch her father and a friend named John Hartfield, and that the two men fled that night. The rest of the Langs — a mother and five children, including baby Lucille, who was nursing — left by train in the morning. It was 1915.

“We were just shaking,” Ms. Kirkland said.

They settled in East St. Louis, Ill., where word later came that Mr. Hartfield had returned to Ellisville to be with his white girlfriend. This is undocumented family gospel. What is documented is that on June 26, 1919, white townspeople lynched him for allegedly raping a white woman.

The front page of The Jackson Daily News announced that Mr. Hartfield would be lynched at 5 p.m. “Governor Bilbo Says He Is Powerless to Prevent It,” the headline read. “Thousands of People Are Flocking Into Ellisville to Attend the Event.”

The [Ellisville, Mississippi,] population of 1,700 instantly multiplied as crowds spilled out of the Hotel Alice and into the open space along the train tracks. A postcard depicting the scene bears the caption: “Waiting for the Show to Start.”

The lynching of  John Hartfield was attended by thousands.

The lynching of John Hartfield was attended by thousands.

Mr. Hartfield was dragged to a big gum tree and strung up. A rain of bullets from the crowd seemed to reanimate the corpse, which finally fell to the ground and was burned to ashes. Some took body parts as souvenirs.

In the Ellisville of today, little recalls the moment, other than the Hotel Alice. In a mayoral portrait gallery at City Hall, for example, the officeholder in 1919 is absent. And at Jones County Junior College, Roll 539 of the microfilm for the local newspaper, The Laurel Daily Leader, jumps from May 27, 1919, to Aug. 22, 1919 — as if the June lynching of Mr. Hartfield had never happened.

Ms. Mamie Kirkland, age 107, speaking with the mayor of Ellisville, Mississippi.

Ms. Mamie Kirkland, age 107, speaking with the mayor of Ellisville, Mississippi.

But it remained seared in collective memory. “I never saw him in my life, but I remember his name,” Ms. Kirkland said, adding, “Could have been my father.”

By then, it appears, the family had already endured mayhem in East St. Louis, where thousands of Southern black men like her father found work in industrial plants. In 1917, when Ms. Kirkland was 9, rioting white men, incensed by the job competition and changing demographics, burned down black neighborhoods and shot at those who fled. Dozens of black residents, maybe many more, died, and thousands were left homeless.

Read the full story here.

Read an eyewitness account of the lynching of John Hartfield by a reporter here.

Read more Breaking News here.