Read the PDF of our statement here.
Over the weekend, Mississippi state legislator Karl Oliver posted a message on Facebook suggesting that officials who attempt to take down Confederate monuments “should be lynched.” NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill issued the following statement in response:
“Karl Oliver’s statement over the weekend is shocking in its ignorance and abhorrent in its violence. He not only called for the murder of public officials, a statement that is appalling enough in its own right. In specifically calling for lynching, he also explicitly raised the ugly history of racial violence in America, a history that still casts a long shadow over Oliver’s own state of Mississippi – especially the district he represents, where Emmett Till was murdered in 1955. That history is also precisely why the removal of Confederate monuments is such an important act of reconciliation and inclusion in the first place.”
“Moreover, Rep. Oliver’s belated and, frankly, hard to believe apology does not undo the damage done by statements like this from those who purport to be leaders in our country. His remarks demonstrate such a shocking level of recklessness that we must question his fitness for public office. During this volatile and dangerous time in our country, when hate crimes are at their highest levels in recent memory, we call on public officials to set an example of peace, respect, and care, and to exercise self-discipline when participating in conversations about this country’s racial history.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.