HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Fifty-two years later, on a Monday morning, Forrest County mentioned their plans to honor a local civil rights activist, Vernon Dahmer Sr. Dahmer was killed by the Ku Klux Klan in 1966, after a firebombing when he led the Voter Registration Act in Forrest County.
“We believe it is past time, and we're sorry for what the family has had to endure over the years,” Forrest County Board of Supervisors’ President, David Hogan said.
Hogan expressed his sorrow right before he issued a motion to provide $20,000 to help build a memorial to honor Dahmer’s legacy.
“I hope it never happens to anybody else,” Vernon Dahmer’s wife, Ellie Dahmer said. “I don't care what color they are. Nobody deserves to go through what we went through.”
More than 50 years later, Ellie Dahmer still feels the pain of her husband's loss. During Monday’s board meeting Ellie Dahmer took the time to thank Hogan along with the rest of the board for their gratitude.
“It's a lot of people that didn't realize the struggle we went through. Remember, he never had a chance to vote, his card came in the mail after we buried him,” Ellie Dahmer added.
“We have a civil rights icon right here in Forrest County that paid the ultimate price for getting minorities registered to vote,” Hogan commented. “So, the board thinks it's fitting to memorialize his life, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
Members of the community say they stand in support of Hogan’s decision.
“It's a powerful memory,” Shady Grove Baptist Church Pastor (where Vernon Dahmer’s body is buried), Rev. Reginald Woullard Sr. said. “You know, his life and will always be remembered and have an impact on our community.”
Dahmer's everlasting impact will be on display soon in downtown Hattiesburg.
“Well, I would like to see a statue of him placed out there, for the young people to see,” Ellie Dahmer said. “People other than our family, our family already knows about him.”
“I think history to me is incomplete if you don't tell the good and the bad,” Rev. Woullard commented.
The good and the bad, and the everlasting impact that this civil rights hero, Vernon Dahmer gave his life for.