A Mississippi state lawmaker has sparked outrage after calling for the lynching of leaders who back the recent removal of Confederate monuments in Louisiana.
In a Facebook post published Saturday night, Mississippi state Rep. Karl Oliver went on a diatribe about the controversial statues in his neighboring state, which have been taken down in recent weeks:
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.
Oliver included with the post a picture of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which was the last of the four controversial monuments in New Orleans to be removed.
By Monday afternoon, the post was no longer publicly visible. Oliver issued an apology, saying he regretted his word choice:
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.
Lynching means “to put to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal approval or permission.” It is a particularly fraught term in the South, where thousands of black Americans were lynched in the 19th and 20th centuries. Oliver, a Republican, was elected to the Mississippi legislature in 2015. His district includes Money, Miss., the town where a 14-year-old black boy named Emmett Till was lynched by two white men in 1955.