Moss Point resident paints over black fist painted by mayor in front of city hall

Updated: Jul. 1, 2020 at 11:23 AM CDT
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MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - A Moss Point man says the mayor’s recent painting in front of City Hall is “racist” and that’s why he painted over part of it Wednesday morning.

First thing Wednesday, Loper used black paint to paint of the fist, leaving the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” alone.

Comparing the raised black fist to the Confederate flag, Tommy Loper said it’s a racist symbol that is not helping unify people in the city.

“All lives matter but (a) black power symbol is just like the stars and bars in the Confederate flag,” said Loper in a Facebook post. He added that the fist is “racist and not needed in Moss Point.”

Come join me at City Hall in Moss Point 8 in the morning to get rid of racism

Posted by Tommy Loper on Sunday, June 28, 2020

Mayor King told WLOX on Wednesday that the city did not intend to file charges against Loper because it is a state roadway, not a municipal one.

Shortly after, he took to Facebook, saying his painting “was vandalized by a white man that lacked the cultural competence and understanding of the pain, adversity, and experience of the BLACK LIFE.”

Today the mural that I painted in The City of Moss Point was vandalized by a white man that lacked the cultural competence and understanding of the pain, adversity, and experience of the “BLACK LIFE”. While this was expected, we hoped that we would be able to educated and bring some meaning and truth to the overarching issues and experience of black people. The purpose of the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement is to educate, create policies, and bring awareness to the issues facing black people. This individual and other like minded groups represents the exact reason that the movement of BLACK LIVES MATTER exist and go beyond police brutality. His willful ignorance coupled with his unwillingness to listen and understand is at the foundation of the problem that not only our city, but the entire country is faced with. As a black man, mayor, and leader I took time to talk to the individual and show him some love days before when he protested this painting,his actions demonstrate his unwillingness to listed and understand the truth behind this movement. People let’s not respond to this with violence, anger, or hatred but with respect, class, and pride. It is imperative that during this time more than any other we recognize the progress that is happening such as the permanent removal of the confederate symbol from our state flag, legislation in congress that specifically is tailored towards improving the black experience in America, and the idea that our nation is working towards a better tomorrow for all people (DO NOT BE DISTRACTED BY FOOLISHNESS). The goal and purpose of this mural was to engage, make aware, educate, and stimulate a discussion surrounding a topic that is uncomfortable for many people to talk about especially those that are not impacted as a result of: police brutality, racism, white privilege, job attainment, access to care, education, wealth, etc. Today, I encourage you come together and be unified in an approach that will change the factors that impact you or someone you know by taking a peaceful action. Lastly, COVID-19 is increasing so please wear your mask and social distance.

Posted by Mayor Mario King, Moss Point, MS on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The raised black fist has been seen a lot lately across the country amid protests for racial injustice. But the symbol has long been used by civil rights advocates as a symbol of black liberation.

Moss Point mayor helps paint street to say ‘Black Lives Matter'
Moss Point mayor helps paint street to say ‘Black Lives Matter'(Mario King)

The black fist first became mainstreamed when it was used by the Black Panther Party, which was founded in the 60s to challenge police brutality against the Black community. the black power fist was repeatedly used as a symbol of black liberation.

Photos and video footage of the Black Panthers saluting each other with raised fists at conventions, meetings and rallies solidified the symbol as synonymous with the fight for black civil rights.

The black fist once again became popular by the Black Lives Matter movement after it was formed in 2014 following the death of Michel Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Activists said that the fist was meant to represent the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose.

Ever since then, it’s been a symbol shared widely on social media and at rallies and protests, meant to emphasize resistance and defiance.

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