ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Deerfield-Windsor School (DWS) officials confirmed that one of its graduates, Howell Logan, is one of three white, University of Mississippi students seen in a controversial photo making rounds on social media.
Logan graduated from DWS in 2017, according to Allen Lowe, Deerfield-Windsor interim head of school.
In the photo, Logan is pictured on the right.
The marker on the Tallahatchie River had been sprayed with bullets in the photo.
It’s unclear if any of the students in the photo fired shots at the sign.
Till was just 14 when he was tortured and murdered after being accused of whistling at white woman. It’s a case that galvanized the Civil Rights Movement.
Deerfield-Windsor School issued a statement to WALB about the situation.
The Justice Department is reportedly investigating.
The students’ Ole Miss fraternity suspended them.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant responded to the photo as well, with a tweet over the weekend.
Words like angry, appalled and saddened are being used from people of different races WALB talked to.
Many of them said they never imagined anyone from Albany would being linked to such a serious case.
State Rep. CaMia Hopson said Logan’s family still lives here and they are active in the community.
WALB has been working to find out if the family has an attorney. WALB has also reached out to family members but have to hear back. WALB featured Logan in many sports reports in the past few years.
Some said the photo is just shocking.
“It’s not about being in front of that monument, it’s what the individuals thinks about the monument,” Ernest Mason, a concerned Albany resident, said.
“I feel like it’s crazy, being honest. Because we ain’t never had nothing like this that close to here. Somebody graduating from Albany?” said LaKeisha Polks, another resident, said.
Civil rights leaders are also upset over the photo.
“I’m numb to anger. I guess I’m just in some kind of shock,” Frank Wilson, Albany Civil Rights Institute executive director, said. “The memory of Emmett Till is one that is revered and should have been kept secret."
The sign has been riddled with bullets in years past.
“The mockery of that person in any manner, to think that’s folly or fun, I think is a sick mind,” said Wilson.
Residents told WALB they wished people would respect this piece of history.
“That’s wrong on several occasions," Polks said. “Because they wouldn’t want nobody to holding guns over somebody they love or one of their loved ones.”
Wilson said more should be done.
“If they are University of Mississippi students, they should be suspended from school. There’s no place for that in 2019, in our society,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he’s willing to meet with any community or civil right leaders to come up with a plan to stop this type of behavior on a national and local level.
A new Emmett Till memorial sign is now being created that will be bulletproof. The new memorial is planned to be installed at an Oct. 19 ceremony.