I just love to start the new year with a bang.
A court has ruled that a black church in South Carolina owns the building that a KKK store operates in.
I'm going to stop for a moment because, if your reaction to that was anything like mine, you are presently sliding out of your chair in hysterics and collapsing in a heap on the floor for a minute or two.
You're back? That's good. So, here's the dirt: the city is Laurens, SC, a town named after Henry Laurens, a slave trader in the 18th century. It is about 70 miles northwest of Columbia. In 1996, a man named John Howard, a former grand dragon the Carolinas' KKK chapters, took over an abandoned movie theater (which, it should be noted, segregated the movie audience when it was in operation) in a building and opened a store called The Redneck Shop. There, they sold KKK robes and T-shirts with racial slurs and other bullshit.
Howard apparently figured he'd make a comfortable living. "If anything turns people off, they shouldn't come in here. It's not a thing in here that's against the law." But it hasn't quite worked out that way. A few days after he first opened the shop, a man from Columbia protested the store's existence by driving his van through the front window (he was charged with malicious damage to property). It has also been the site of numerous protests and pickets almost from the day it opened. Among the more frequent picketers is a fellow by the name of David Kennedy.
A little background on Kennedy, pictured here on the right -- Kennedy is the reverend of the New Beginnings Baptist Church. Kennedy is no stranger to social justice. Among the high points on his resume is protesting a SC county that refused to observe Martin Luther King Day. He was also instrumental in the campaign to get the SC lege to take down the Confederate flag from its dome.
Kennedy accidentally wound up involved in all of this. See, the business belong to Howard, but the building belonged to another man, a fellow member of the KKK with Howard. This guy had a falling out of sorts with the group, supposedly over a woman, in 1997. He wanted to piss off Howard royal, so he transferred ownership of the building to Kennedy. Now, there is a clause in the deed that says Howard can operate the shop there until he dies, but that's it.
Kennedy decided to try and inspect the building and the property so he could see what exactly he had. Howard refused to allow them to. After trying for years, Kennedy filed suit in 2008 to do it. Howard's defense was that it was his store, not Kennedy.
Today, the judge ruled that Kennedy owned the building and Howard had to let them in. It's so ironic, I think I need a tetanus shot.
So enjoy Kennedy's karma running over Howard's dogma.