Vardaman Hall - Ole Miss

Vardaman Hall – Ole Miss

*The University of Mississippi is taking baby steps toward addressing its racist past.

The institution on Thursday announced plans to recognize pre-Civil War campus buildings that were built by slaves, according to NBC News.

In addition to placing plaques on buildings built by slaves, the university will also remove the name of white supremacist James K. Vardaman from a campus building. Vardaman was the governor of Mississippi from 1904 to 1908.

“As an educational institution, it is imperative we foster a learning environment and fulfill our mission by pursuing knowledge and understanding,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said in a news release.

Ole Miss was among the focal points of racial violence in 1962, when James Meredith became the first black student to enroll following court-ordered integration.

The plaques are part of the school’s ongoing attempt to reconcile with its past, provide historical context, and create a more welcoming environment for a diverse student body. In recent years, the university has had several instances of racism, including a 2015 incident in which a noose was placed around the neck of a James Meredith statue on campus.