/Where’s Bilbo Statue of racist former governor missing from Capitol

Where’s Bilbo Statue of racist former governor missing from Capitol

According to legend, the bronze statue of Bilbo in life-size, with his right hand pointed toward the sky, was missing since Jan. 4. However, most people didn’t notice it until this week. No one claimed public credit for the removal on Thursday. Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann stated that he didn’t know the statue was gone. Since the statue was located in a House committee area, a spokesperson for the state Department of Finance and Administration directed questions to House members. Philip Gunn, House Speaker, said that he didn’t know. Gunn stated that he would investigate. Jason White, R-West House Pro Tem, is the chair of the Management Committee, which administers the House staff and the House’s section of the state Capitol. He also denied knowing about the disappearance. Rep. Lee Yancey speculated that it was not an easy task to remove the statue. Yancey (R-Brandon) stated that he is 5’2 and weighs 1000 pounds so he didn’t go willingly. “I don’t know anything about that,” Rep. Tom Miles (D-Forest) said. “That is the mystery.” Bilbo was a controversial figure who won bribery cases to become governor twice and then to the U.S. Senate. He died in 1947 during a dispute over whether his fellow senators would allow him to sit after his reelection. Bilbo stated that if you fail to pass this bill in the Senate, it would open the floodgates to hell in the South. Rapping, mobbing and lynching, as well as race riots and crime, will increase a thousandfold. Bilbo said that if the bill is passed, it will bring down the South’s morality. “I haven’t heard anything about the statue being removed,” said Rep. Bryant Clark (D-Pickens), whose father, Robert Clark, broke barriers in 1967 by becoming the first African American elected member of the Legislature since 1800s. “Hopefully, he’s been removed to museum where he belongs.” Although no one claimed responsibility for the removal, whispers from different sources suggested that the statue is still at the Capitol. State Senator Angela Hill, R-Picayune hails from Bilbo’s home county, Pearl River. She stated on social media that the statue was taken by a House staff member who did not have the authority to remove it. A joint legislative resolution adopted in the 1950s required the statue to be prominently displayed on the Capitol’s first floor. Clark claimed that his father remembered when the statue was in the Capitol Rotunda. Clark stated that the statue was the first thing he saw upon entering the Capitol rotunda. The Capitol was shut down for renovations in the 1980s. The Capitol was closed for renovations during that time. The Legislature met in the former Central High School building blocks away from the Capitol. The building was reopened by the then-Gov. William Winter, or his administration, had moved the statue from room 113 to the largest House committee room. Multiple lawmakers who attended the committee meetings in room113 this session claimed they didn’t realize the statue was missing. Room 113 also has a bust of Thomas Bailey who was governor during the 1940s. It was apparently returned to the Department of Archives and History which is the owner of the bust. Room 113 is used by the House Republican Caucus and the Legislative Black Caucus to meet. The House Democratic leader, Robert Johnson of Natchez said that “The Black Caucus has been asking for the removal of the statue for many years.” “We have never received a response.” Johnson said that the statue of Theodore Gilmore Bilbo (or whatever his name was), who claimed Blacks should not receive education and who embraced racism in a position of power after changing the state flag and all the progress they have made, is no longer needed. Bilbo and I tell him, as if he could hear me, that I am meant to be here.