RED SPRINGS — Two local families were angered this week when they found in their yards fliers filled with what they called racially offensive language.
The fliers, in plastic bags weighed down with white rice, claimed to have been distributed by the Ku Klux Klan and targeted blacks and Jews.
“I couldn’t tell if it was a recruitment flier or a warning flier, or if it was a message telling us we need to pack up and leave,” said Stephanie McArthur, a pastor and lifelong community resident. “We will never go back to this. We are a mixing pot, even myself. I have black, white and Indian ancestors.”
The fliers were found at homes on North Main and Peachtree streets. A black family lives at the North Main address, and an Hispanic family on Peachtree.
McArthur’s 75-year-old father, Willie “Fuzzy” McArthur, lives at the North Main Street home.
“He was afraid and then he was mad. My dad was waiting with a gun in hand in case they came back,” she said. “It has alarmed us. I didn’t think anything would happen, but you never can tell.”
Stephanie McArthur’s 18-year-old daughter, Dymond, said she headed straight to her grandfather’s house to retrieve the bag and placed it in a secondary bag as a precaution and to preserve any prints that may have been left on the flier or the bag it was in.
“He (Fuzzy) said, ‘Don’t touch it, it could have Anthrax on it.’ In my mind, I was thinking: ‘Who does this?’” Dymond said.
“I can’t believe people are still doing this,” she said. “This is some 1940s stuff. Tell them to leave that in the 1940s.”
Dymond’s 18-year-old friend lives at the home on Peachtree Street and did not want to be identified.
“We both think there is no point in doing this because nobody is going to accept this racism. I am not scared. I think that’s their goal,” Dymond said. “I am just concerned because they are cowards and they will never show their faces. They could be next to me and I wouldn’t know.”
The Red Springs Police Department received reports this past week of racist propaganda and paraphernalia on a leaflet imprinted with an emblem of the Loyal White Knights thrown in the yards of town residents, according to Maj. Kimothy Monroe.
“We presently do not have any information about the organization, it’s origin or who is distributing the paraphernalia,” Monroe said in a statement. “Chief (Ronnie) Patterson says there is certainly no harm telling the distributors to stay off their property and not to return, or face possible prosecution.”
Anyone with knowledge about who is decimating the information is asked to call the police department at 910-843-3453.
The literature, provided to The Robesonian, blamed African-American and Jewish people for all the violence and government issues negatively impacting United States citizens, followed by a name and phone number.
A recording of derogatory remarks about African-Americans could be heard when The Robesonian called. The voicemail message ended by encouraging white people interested in their movement to leave a message. The Robesonian’s call was not immediately returned.
“This could be a potential hate crime if there are threats behind them,” said Johnson Britt, Robeson County’s district attorney. “Based on what the literature read, they are racist remarks and they are offensive, but being racist is not necessarily a crime.
“The issue becomes is there a threat of violence or an act of violence. It could be littering, but you‘d have to prove who threw it.”
Document the incident and report it to your local police, Britt said. People who live in the county should call the Sheriff’s Office, and keep the bag for police to see and use as part of their investigation.
“It not only is frustrating, it hurts,” Britt said. “I would be offended with all that derogatory stuff, such racially insensitive remarks. Who wants to receive that?”
McArthur never wants to relive the day the KKK organized a march from Raeford to Maxton and Red Springs.
“I remember, I think it was in 1968, it was a big thing. It was chaotic,” McArthur said. “I remember everyone was frantic, people were getting their guns. The kids were turning against each other and they didn’t know why they were fighting.
“I understand the law, but I want this situation to be monitored by law enforcement and if possible, a press conference from higher county officials with a message saying, this is not acceptable,” she said. “Then, maybe things will change. It needs to come from more than me or a news reporter.”
Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected]ian.com or Facebook Annick MultiMedia Journalist.