A white supremacist in Mississippi is facing ten years behind bars for burning a cross in the yard of his Black neighbors to terrorize them.
Axel Cox of Gulfport was indicted by a grand jury in September for his heinous actions on December 3rd, 2020. The now 24-year-old admitted that he used supplies from his home to create a wooden cross and posted it in the yard of his neighbor. Cox then doused the cross with motor oil and lit it on fire in a despicable display made popular by the Ku Klux Klan during the Jim Crow era. Cox stated he burned the cross because the residents killed his dog but would later admit that he used racial slurs towards the family and targeted them due to their race. The young man stated he wasn’t pleased with Black people living next to him.
Mississippi, in particular, has a long, painful history of anti-Black crimes that have sadly resulted in death. Most notably, the June 1964 murders of three civil rights activists stunned the nation and was the driving force behind the 1988 drama “Mississippi Burning.” Though fifteen Ku Klux Klan members were behind the slayings, only Edgar Ray Killen was tried and convicted in 2005 of orchestrating the murders. Unfortunately, the byproducts of those crimes are still seen in the southern state being carried out by a new generation of white supremacists. In August 2014, Craig Wilson, a white man, was shot in Raleigh after reporting a burning cross in his yard. He is believed to have been targeted for having mixed-race grandchildren. In October 2017, Jackson resident Louie Bernard Revette burned a cross in a Seminary neighborhood to intimidate Black neighbors.
Cox is just the latest hateful citizen to keep this violent practice alive. Thankfully, he has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime of violating the Fair Housing Act. His sentencing is scheduled for March 9th, 2023. In addition to a possible decade behind bars, Cox also faces a $250,000 fee.