A woman carries the Confederate flag to vote in Mississippi … and then places it on the grave of the Civil Rights leader


She left home Tuesday morning with a Confederate flag draped around her shoulders and a red slipknot hanging from her neck.

The unconventional lesson has left some people scratching their heads, but those who know Bivins have said it makes sense.

When Carlos Wilson saw Bivins outside his polling station in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, he had a little idea of ​​what she was preparing.

"Claudia is very frank, a very conscious woman … if you have to say something – it has to be said – and if she is there, she will be one of those people who will say it," she said. he declared. Wilson, pastor of the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, met the Bivins about 10 years ago at a ceremony related to their common interests in political activism and social justice.

"I immediately understood what was going on, but I still love hearing her story and so I asked what was the transaction today."

Bivins said he placed the flag on Vernon Dahmer's grave as a gesture of hope for the end of racism.

L & # 39; s history

Bivins told CNN that her visit to the polls was an excursion with her 7-year-old grandson.

She brought the noose, she said, to symbolize the past lynching of her ancestors. The flag was to represent the heavy burden of racism that still exists on her shoulders, she said.

"It still weighs on me," said Bivins. "The flag represents racism, slavery and affliction."

Bivins was part of the first integrated class of her high school, she said, adding that one of the lessons that she had shared with her grandson on Tuesday was that she was not going to be in school. would not have been allowed to attend school where he now attends at the age of his age.

After voting, Bivins took her grandson to a place she attended: the grave of Vernon Dahmer, a human rights defender killed by the Ku Klux Klan for organizing the registration of voters for Afro -Américains.

Bivins said she often went to Dahmer's grave in recent years. This year, she and her grandson laid the Confederate flag on her grave and placed olive branches and peppermint. She said that olive branches symbolize the champion that Dahmer was and peppermint represents healing.

"By laying the rebel flag on Vernon's grave, I explained to my grandson what it stands for – our hope that racism and hate die," said Bivins. "That he would be killed at the root of our hearts, our minds and our souls."

Bivins said his protest was inspired by the second round of the week, an election that highlighted racism and lynching in the Mississippi past. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith was on the ballot and told a supporter that she would be "in the front row", he "invited me to a public hanging".

His campaign team described the comment as "an exaggerated expression of respect," but the comment still cost him the support of major donors such as Walmart and Google.

CNN also reported that Hyde-Smith had already promoted a measure hailing the efforts of a Confederate soldier to "defend his homeland" and pushed for a revisionist view of the civil war.

CNN projected Tuesday night that Hyde-Smith defeated his opponent Mike Espy in the second round.

Bivins told CNN that she did not agree with President Donald Trump's decision to campaign for Hyde-Smith.

"Some people thought that (the demonstration of Bivins) was in bad taste," Wilson said. "But if you know Claudia and if you know the message that she was trying to convey, those of us who know her are very proud of her."

Authorities said that at least four Molotov cocktails had been thrown into Vernon Dahmer's home and grocery store, presented here.

Vernon Dahmer

Among those who initially found that Bivins' actions were rebellious, there were members of Dahmer's family.

Vernon Dahmer was one of the co-founders of the NAACP Chapter in Hattiesburg. In 1964, he joined the Non-Violent Student Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to organize a voter registration drive.

His mantra was "if you do not vote, you do not count".

The movement has faced threats of violence and, for its work to register African Americans for voting, the Dahmer family has faced death threats.

After two years of voter registration work, Dahmer took part in a radio show announcing that he would help pay the voting taxes of those who could not afford it. The next day, the Ku Klux Klan murdered Dahmer's farm, setting it on fire.

Vernon Dahmer, a civil rights leader who was burned when the Nightriders set fire to his home and shop, died in Hattiesburg on January 10, 1966.

Confusion, worry, praise

Dennis Dahmer was driving down the road when his older brother, Vernon Jr., contacted him and told him about a woman who had laid a Confederate flag on their father's grave.

"At first, we really did not know what was going on, you see something like that, especially in a place like Mississippi with its history, you do not know what to think, but it's usually not good . "

Nooses found at Mississippi State Capitol a day before the special election
The Dahmer brothers had reason to have doubts. The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is looking for suspects accused of placing a pair of flowing knots and signs with messages such as "We are hanging down knots to remind people that times have not changed "on the grounds of Mississippi Capitol Monday.

But then, Dennis Dahmer learned that Bivins was an African-American and an activist. They spoke and she assured him that she would come back to remove the flag.

Even after learning that Bivins was planning to honor his father, Dennis Dahmer was concerned about his method. He feared that like him, others would not know what message to take away.

He also advised against using tombs for any kind of activism for the benefit of the loved ones of those who are buried.

"It brings back all kinds of bad memories that we never forget, that brings you back," Dahmer said.

Despite everything, Dahmer said that he congratulates Bivins for his activism.

"We simply need more people to make their voices heard and express their vision of what is going on in America right now," said Dahmer.

"The time has come to send this strong message:" Hey, what is happening is not what is best in America. "


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