The statue of former Gov. Theodore Bilbo is placed on a flatbed after its removal from a Capitol storage room, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. The statue will be taken to the Two Mississippi Museums and stored in the basement. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

A first floor storage room at the state Capitol was opened Friday, and the Art Logistics International moving company crew from Memphis, Tennessee, got to work building a protective scaffolding-like hoist. 

The protective contraption was constructed to safely lift the statute of former Gov. Theodore Gilmore Bilbo, one of the state’s most notorious racists, onto a forklift and then to a waiting flatbed. 

The curious stopped for a closer look, chatted amongst themselves and snapped a few cellphone images.

“It’s been 75 years. I think the old goat would be tickled he’s still causing this much of a fuss,” said one onlooker.

“Long time coming, and way past time,” said another.

Bilbo served two terms as Mississippi governor in the 1920s and 30s and was later elected three times as U.S. senator. Among his many egregiously racist actions, he advocated for the deportation of Black Americans to Africa and fought national efforts to pass anti-lynching legislation.

After stints in the Capitol Rotunda, Room 113 and out of sight behind the closed doors of a storage room, the Bilbo statute was transported from the Capitol to its new home in the basement of the Two Mississippi Museums.

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