Mississippi man faces federal charges for allegedly burning cross to threaten Black family: report
Cross Burning (Wikimedia Commons)

On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that a 23-year-old Mississippi man faces federal charges after he allegedly staged a cross burning in his front yard to terrorize a Black family in his neighborhood.

"In December 2020, Axel C. Cox, a resident of Gulfport, allegedly set a cross ablaze while spewing racist comments at his Black neighbors," reported Brooke Leigh Howard. "On Friday, the Department of Justice charged him with one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony."

If convicted, according to the DOJ release, Cox faces fines of up to $250,000 and as much as 10 years in federal prison.

Cross burnings, first popularized as a white supremacist symbol in the early 20th century Ku Klux Klan propaganda film "Birth of a Nation," became a signature terror tactic of the second wave of the KKK.

As recently as 2015, one chapter of the KKK even held a public cross burning event to mark Labor Day.

This comes amid a national reckoning about the ongoing presence of monuments to the Klan and white supremacy that exist around the country, and even its casual use to brand businesses. In Georgia, a controversial store known as Wildman's Civil War Surplus has caused explosions of outrage by selling KKK and Confederate memorabilia.