/Reversing the historic move of Bilbo statue could prove difficult

Reversing the historic move of Bilbo statue could prove difficult

House Speaker Philip Gunn was not the most talented actor this side of Sir Lawrence Olivier. He did not take part in the removal of the Bilbo statue from public view. Gunn said, in earnest, that he didn’t know about the missing statue two weeks ago. “I heard about the statue at lunch,” Gunn said. A week later, Ketchings confirmed that he was the one responsible and moved the bronze statue on his own. He received $4,000 to $5,000 in moving costs for the move. The statue is 5 feet 2 inches high and has an immense base. READ MORE: Andrew Ketchings, House Clerk, takes credit for moving the Bilbo statue from public view. The statue is currently stored in a room on Capitol’s first floor. It could be difficult to restore it to public display. It will be necessary to convince legislators that Bilbo should be the governor with a statue at the Mississippi Capitol. This honor is not available to any other governor. Bilbo served two terms in the governor’s office and was twice elected to the U.S. Senate. He advocated for Black Americans moving to Africa and against anti-lynching legislation. Bilbo, who was perhaps the leader of the nation’s lynchings, said that if he succeeded in filibustering an Anti-lynching Bill in the U.S. Senate, he would open the floodgates to hell in the South. Raping, mobbing and lynching, as well as race riots and crime, will increase a thousandfold. And upon your garments as well as those of those who were responsible for passing the measure, will be the blood from the raped, outraged daughters in Dixie as well as that of the perpetrators. A legislator might be able to argue the manner in which the removal was accomplished — one House staff member did it all on his own. The clerk is elected by all 122 House members, usually on the recommendation of the speaker. The Clerk is responsible for managing the daily operations of the House staff as well as the Capitol building portion controlled by the House. Ketchings has in the past acted alone to renovate or update House committee rooms. The Bilbo statue was placed in House committee room number 113 by a historical accident. Bilbo did not serve in the Mississippi House. READ MORE: Bilbo missing from Capitol Missing from Capitol: Statue for racist former governor The building was closed for renovations in the 1980s. However, the then-Gov. William Winter, an old enough to have seen Bilbo’s infuriating rhetoric, moved the statue from room 113 to room 113. It remained there until recently. One could argue that Winter made the statue House property. As bold and brave as the Ketchings move, the Winter move was at the time. Ketchings said, “Because he stood for everything, I think that this should have been done many years ago.” He was a former Republican House member from Adams County, and later worked as an assistant to Gov. Haley Barbour. Ketchings is a veteran of Mississippi Republican politics. READ MORE: Governor Bill Winter moved the Bilbo statue for the first time in 1980. William Winter in 1980s. In a state with a history full of racist politicians, Bilbo and his contemporary, James K. Vardaman would be on Mississippi’s Mount Rushmore for racist politicians. Ironically, Vardaman was elected the first Mississippian senator through popular vote. The state legislature had previously elected Mississippi’s U.S. Senators. Vardaman lost his bid for a second term to Hubert Stephens (a U.S. House representative from Union County, northeast Mississippi). Six years later, Stephens was defeated again by Bilbo. According to Martha Swain’s Mississippi History Now article, Stephens was close to death and told his family that “Bilbo, Vardaman, and Stephens would both be in history books, and if they were, they would just as soon be taken out.” Stephens also ordered his papers to be burned in an attempt to stay out of history between Vardaman, and Bilbo.