COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi civil rights icon, Vernon Dahmer, is being honored in a special way by Forrest County, the City of Hattiesburg and several organizations and individuals.
A statue of Dahmer has been sculpted by two local artists, Ben Watts and Vixon Sullivan, at Watts’ studio in Columbia.
It’s 7-feet-tall and the duo worked on it for about four months.
The statue is currently at a foundry in Houston, Texas, being cast in bronze.
When complete, it will be the centerpiece of a new plaza that will be located at the Forrest County Courthouse.
“I think it’s important that we educate younger generations so that they know the struggles, the real story of the struggles that happened in their community,” said David Hogan, president of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors.
Dahmer was a Forrest County businessman and civil rights leader who promoted voting rights for African-Americans.
He was killed in 1966 when the Ku Klux Klan firebombed his home.
Members of Dahmer’s family say they’re grateful that his life and work are being remembered and they hope that the efforts of other local civil rights pioneers will be included in the plaza project.
“I think that’s important, because you had a lot of people, everyday grassroots people, who were part of that movement,” said Dennis Dahmer, son of Vernon Dahmer. “I think it would be a great idea if their names were included.”
So far, Forrest County, the city of Hattiesburg and Forrest General Hospital have contributed $120,000 for the project.