The historic marker on Mississippi 19 south, commemorating the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, has been torn off its steel post by vandals and will have to be completely replaced, the authorities said.

Leroy Clemons, president of the Neshoba County Chapter of the NAACP, said someone apparently used a truck or car to damage the sign.

"We think we will have to get a whole new sign," he said, noting that tire tracks could be seen leading to the sign.

Clemons said he helped host a civil rights tour, which included a stop at the sign, on the weekend of Feb. 16 and 18.

"I got a call the next morning that the sign had been broken," he said.

This is not the first time the historic marker has been vandalized.

A few years ago, someone spray painted it.

"It's sad that some individuals haven't embraced the change that has occurred in our county over the past few years," Clemons said. "Neshoba County has become a 'shining example' of young blacks, whites and Native American working together. "As our county continues to become increasingly racially diverse, we must continue leading the way through innovative education opportunities and fostering an atmosphere of trust and understanding."

Clemons said the county has been given a golden opportunity to settle the issue of race through the efforts of groups like the Philadelphia Coalition and the Neshoba Youth Coalition "whose work has been instrumental in creating an environment where our children will not be torn apart emotionally or physically over issues of race. We just have to work harder to bring more people into the light."

Persons with any information about the vandalism were asked to call the sheriff's office at 601-656-1414.