Education

Rioter Who Toppled Confederate Statue In Durham May Receive Scholarship

The student charged with pushing down the Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina on Monday may be rewarded with a scholarship for her actions from North Carolina Central University.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on Wednesday that proposals are being made at the college to award Takiyah Thompson, who has been charged with two felonies—participation in a riot and inciting others to riot—for her actions.

News that Thompson was involved in the demonstration was reportedly met with widespread support from campus faculty and students in her Introduction to Political Science class.

“I saw the demonstration and the toppling of the monument. I think it’s a healthy thing for students to have a voice and to be leaders in activism,” said Jim C. Harper II, chair of the history department. “We’re going to do everything we can to support Ms. Thompson.”

Her professor, Allan Cooper, said that the entire class applauded when he revealed to them that Thompson was the person charged with toppling the statue. Following the news, Cooper sent an email to the chair to propose giving Thompson a scholarship.

Thompson wasn’t the only person involved in vandalizing the Confederate statue, which was dedicated to the boys who died in the Civil War, but she was the among the few rioters identified in video footage.

Scott Holmes, a professor at NCCU’s law school, is legally representing Thompson and other rioters who were arrested, pro bono.

“She is an inspiration to watch,” said Holmes. “She gave a brilliant interview, was arrested, came out and had a big smile on her face. She is resilient and smart and knows she’s done something that has awakened the conversation around race.”

Other professors at NCCU are reportedly raising money to cover the legal costs for the rioters.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.