The apparent arson striking a black church wasn’t the worst thing that happened in Greenville, Mississippi on late November 2. Instead, it was the “Vote Trump” message, spray-painted in large letters on one of side of the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, that hit the lowest point.
Carolyn Hudson, pastor of the 200-member faith group, told NBC News:
“Our church was a historic church that has been there for over 111 years. This has left our hearts broken, but we are strong together.”
The response from Greenville’s Mayor Errick Simmons wasn’t as heartfelt as Hudson’s; instead, Simmons pulled no punches when identifying the cause:
“It appears to be a race crime. It happened in the ‘50s, it happened in the ‘60s – it shouldn’t happen in 2016.”
Along with the state’s fire marshal, both the FBI and the federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau are investigating the incident.
This federal involvement is not because of the Trump message left at the scene of the crime, though. The FBI participates in investigation for all potential civil rights crimes, FBI representative Brett Carr said today, including hate crimes involving churches, and going back to times when such attacks on African Americans were more common in the south.
Such racism is commonly associated with Trump and his campaign supporters, however. He’s been sued twice by the Justice Dept. for racism in his real estate ventures, for example, and his casino was fined $200,000 for discrimination. His campaign has been full of attacks on many minorities, as well, ranging from African Americans to Hispanics to Muslims.
This racism was made apparent at an October 29 campaign rally in North Carolina, when Trump called a black attendee “a thug,” ordering the man – who was actually a Trump supporter – to be removed.
The established racism by supporters climaxed when The Crusader – the official newspaper of the Ku Klux Klan – officially endorsed Trump last month.
Founded almost 200 years ago, the small city of Greenville today has a population of 32,000, over three-quarters of which is African American. Greenville is best known for its historic residents, which include professional athletes and artists, including The Supremes’ Mary Wilson and Muppets creator Jim Henson.
Mississippi has a long history of vandalism attacks on black churches.
Featured image by Angie Quezada/Delta Daily News