The bronze sculpture, created by artists Vixon Sullivan and Ben Watts, was commissioned in 2018 by the Forrest County Board of Supervisors to honor the man who was killed for trying to get blacks registered to vote. It was dedicated in a plaza outside the courthouse on 10 January, 2020, the anniversary of his murder in 1966.
Because of his work to register minorities to vote, Dahmer became a target of the Ku Klux Klan. Dahmer was killed when Klansmen firebombed his home in Forrest County. His wife and children were able to escape the blaze.
“Mr. Vernon Dahmer, Sr. represented the virtues our community holds most valuable – courage, compassion, and activism. This statue will now permanently mark his heroic determination and celebrate that each and every person has the right to count. It is our honor to be a part of this historic dedication,”David Hogan, Forrest County Board of Supervisors President
“Never as a child growing up in Jasper County did I imagine I’d be standing here today. Mississippi has changed. The statue of my husband Vernon Dahmer is proof of this. My family and I are grateful for everyone that made this day a reality. Remember elections have consequences and let’s remember to vote.”Ellie Dahmer
“Today’s unveiling is one of honor, gratitude and hope for our community as we remember Mr. Dahmer’s lifelong impact as a Civil Rights leader. A core value of the City of Hattiesburg includes telling our story, with a deep obligation to remember those who have valiantly come before us and to educate future generations. Mr. Dahmer’s statue will forever be an opportunity for us to go beyond textbooks and newspapers – to embrace how civic engagement and unwavering belief can change the course of history.”Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker