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Black church rightful owner of KKK store, judge says

Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012 2:06 PM
Last updated 2:50 PM
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COLUMBIA — After a lengthy legal battle between a black South Carolina church and members of the Ku Klux Klan, a judge has ruled that the church owns a building where KKK robes and T-shirts are sold.

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The Rev. David Kennedy (right) looked at items in John Howard's The Redneck Shop in Laurens, S.C., in 2008. A judge has ruled that Kennedy's church, the New Beginnings Baptist Church, is the rightful owner of the building where the shop is located. The church sued Howard and others in 2008, saying the property was transferred to the church in 1997 by a Klansman fighting with others in the group.  File/Associated Press
File/Associated Press
The Rev. David Kennedy (right) looked at items in John Howard's The Redneck Shop in Laurens, S.C., in 2008. A judge has ruled that Kennedy's church, the New Beginnings Baptist Church, is the rightful owner of the building where the shop is located. The church sued Howard and others in 2008, saying the property was transferred to the church in 1997 by a Klansman fighting with others in the group.

A circuit judge ruled last month that New Beginnings Baptist Church is the rightful owner of the building that houses the Redneck Shop, which operates a so-called Klan museum and sells Klan robes and T-shirts emblazoned with racial slurs. The judge ordered the shop’s proprietor to pay the church’s legal bills of more than $3,300.

Since 1996, the Redneck Shop has operated in an old movie theater in Laurens, a city about 70 miles northwest from Columbia that was named after 18th century slave trader Henry Laurens.

Ownership of the building was transferred in 1997 to the Rev. David Kennedy and his church, New Beginnings, by a Klansman fighting with others inside the hate group, according to court records. But a clause in the deed entitles John Howard, formerly KKK grand dragon for the Carolinas, to operate his business in the building until he dies.

After years of trying to have the property inspected, Kennedy and New Beginnings sued Howard and others in 2008. On Dec. 9, a judge ruled in Kennedy’s favor.

There was no answer at the store’s telephone number Tuesday, and Howard’s attorney did not immediately return a message.

Howard has defended his business in the past.

“If anything turns people off, they shouldn’t come in here,” Howard told The Associated Press in 2008. “It’s not a thing in here that’s against the law.”

The Redneck Shop has been the target of protests and attacks from the start. A few days after it opened, a Columbia man crashed his van through the front windows and was charged with malicious damage to property. High profile black activists have staged several protests outside the store, and Kennedy has regularly picketed there.

Kennedy has a long history of fighting racial injustice. He protested when a South Carolina county refused to observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and he helped lobby to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse dome.

Kennedy said Tuesday his congregation was elated by the judge’s decision, which he said he had already discussed with local police in hopes of being able to visit and inspect the property this week.

“It has been a long time coming,” said Kennedy, who learned of the ruling this week. “We knew we had done everything right. … The court knows that we have suffered.”

Kennedy said his congregation’s numbers have decreased in recent years as some of its 200 members became fearful of reprisals from Klan members. Nazi and Confederate symbols have been tacked to the door of the double-wide mobile home where New Beginnings now meets, Kennedy said, and dead animals have been left at the building.

“A lot of people became so afraid,” Kennedy said. “I just told them that it is part of our faith to endure.”

Kennedy, who has previously said he would like to close the store and hold his church meetings there, declined Tuesday to detail his plans, saying only that he thought some parishioners would feel uncomfortable worshipping in the structure that once segregated moviegoers and now sells Klan-related materials.

“I don’t count anything out,” Kennedy said. “I think that the church would do good in that building.”

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Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/03/12 - 03:34 pm
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Meg Kinnard wrote: Ownership

Meg Kinnard wrote:

Ownership of the building was transferred in 1997 to the Rev. David Kennedy and his church, New Beginnings, by a Klansman fighting with others inside the hate group, according to court records. But a clause in the deed entitles John Howard, formerly KKK grand dragon for the Carolinas, to operate his business in the building until he dies. . . . Kennedy, who has previously said he would like to close the store and hold his church meetings there, declined Tuesday to detail his plans, saying only that he thought some parishioners would feel uncomfortable worshipping in the structure that once segregated moviegoers and now sells Klan-related materials.

Okay, the judge said the church owns the building. But did the judge nullify the clause in the deed that allows the business to operate? What is the significance of this story?

burninater
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burninater 01/03/12 - 03:42 pm
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LL, I'd imagine that the

LL, I'd imagine that the church may be able to challenge the stipulation allowing the business to operate and/or they may now be able to set rent. If they can do the latter, they can price the owner out of the location.

burninater
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burninater 01/03/12 - 04:05 pm
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Aww, the AC didn't like my

Aww, the AC didn't like my post insinuating that members of the KKK weren't nice people! Poor misunderstood KKK! I feel so sorry for their wittle bitty hurt feelings!

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 01/03/12 - 04:07 pm
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The KKK should be treated the

The KKK should be treated the same as the black panthers.

burninater
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burninater 01/03/12 - 04:17 pm
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Yes copperhead, they should.

Yes copperhead, they should. Any group that bases part of its philosophy on targeting others solely due to their skin tone should be viewed as the superstitious morons that they are.

bdouglas
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bdouglas 01/03/12 - 05:11 pm
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A point of contention in my

A point of contention in my eyes is why it would take THREE YEARS to sort this out? If property was deeded from one person to another, it's easily located in publically available records. Why on earth did it take more than a few weeks to decide this case?

And the line "...he thought some parishioners would feel uncomfortable worshipping in the structure that once segregated moviegoers and now sells Klan-related materials." That's exactly the reason they SHOULD meet there. Nothing rubs it in the face of injustice like doing the exact opposite of what was wrong in the first place if you ask me...but nobody did.

kmb413
533
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kmb413 01/03/12 - 05:15 pm
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The church should have thier

The church should have thier services in the building during non-business hours.

hopeso2
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hopeso2 01/03/12 - 07:17 pm
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Sympathizers please learn how

Sympathizers please learn how to spell before posting clever remarks otherwise your remark does not prove to be as cleaver as you think

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 07:21 pm
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Yeah, y'all ain't one bit

Yeah, y'all ain't one bit "cleaver."

seenitB4
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seenitB4 01/03/12 - 07:27 pm
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I feel cleaver just reading

I feel cleaver just reading this......Stop making me choke RM!!!LOL

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 07:33 pm
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SeenIt, doesn't it tick you

SeenIt, doesn't it tick you off when people try to be cleaver and can't spell?

seenitB4
81880
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seenitB4 01/03/12 - 07:34 pm
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You are killing me

You are killing me tonight!!!
:)

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 07:46 pm
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SeenIt, I bet a Klansman is

SeenIt, I bet a Klansman is in our midst trying to be cleaver.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 01/03/12 - 07:50 pm
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And we all know how cleaver

And we all know how cleaver THEY are....I never could understand why they used white sheets..

seenitB4
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seenitB4 01/03/12 - 07:54 pm
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I mean a white sheet would be

I mean a white sheet would be such an easy target....now a black satin sheet & you could get lost in the darkness..

happychimer
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happychimer 01/03/12 - 08:12 pm
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River and seenit haha

River and seenit haha

happychimer
16092
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happychimer 01/03/12 - 08:35 pm
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KKK is a stinky hate

KKK is a stinky hate group.They are blessed with ignorance...walking around hating people who are not white. They need to get a life. With all the political hate allowed, then what I say about the KKK should be allowed too. It is really funny that the church owns the place.

raul
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raul 01/03/12 - 08:25 pm
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The Beaver was a Cleaver, but

The Beaver was a Cleaver, but at times he was Clever, too!

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 08:28 pm
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Now, ya'll, there's "clever"

Now, ya'll, there's "clever" and then there's "Cleaver". Cleaver as in June & Ward. Some are Cleaver and clever, some are either one or the other, and still others are neither, clever nor Cleaver.

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 08:29 pm
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Raul!!! we were thinking

Raul!!! we were thinking alike. Does that scare you?

scorehouse
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:32 pm
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did you know the original
Unpublished

did you know the original klan had negro members? which state had the highest number of klan members?

raul
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raul 01/03/12 - 08:37 pm
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@Willow, Yes, it is scary, I

@Willow, Yes, it is scary, I didn't think anyone else thought like me! Ha.

NoCatchyName
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NoCatchyName 01/03/12 - 08:41 pm
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Cleave to the cleverness,

Cleave to the cleverness, Y'all.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:41 pm
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ever heard of the execution
Unpublished

ever heard of the execution of bill german? found hanging in a barn. little note attached. "hung for shooting a negro, bill cullum, and violating the laws of the klan." german be white. cullum survived.

Pu239
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Pu239 01/03/12 - 08:44 pm
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gosh Wally....this is all
Unpublished

gosh Wally....this is all crazy n' junk....

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:51 pm
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read the history of
Unpublished

read the history of reconstruction when whites were not allowed to vote but forced to pay all the taxes. southern whites had no rights and groups like the klan sprang up in self-defense. blacks were also persecuted by the carpetbaggers and scaliwags in power. during this oeriod after the war, the klan and free thinking blacks were allies. the gov't began a ruthless, lawlees persecution of the klan, black allies ,etc. so the klan dissolved. years later the klan reformed under various configutations and became a mega power in the 20's. with the depression and ww2, it lost power and membership dramatically. todays klan is a figment of your imagination. their numbers are a joke and their power less. i fear the federal governement and its constant abuse of powers more than the klan. hey, you got another 1.2 trillion to spare?

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 08:54 pm
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I loved June Cleaver. You

I loved June Cleaver. You know, that's what's wrong with our society today...no June & Ward on TV.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:54 pm
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Ward Cleaver is still on TV.

Ward Cleaver is still on TV. He just calls himself Mitt Romney now.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:59 pm
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Rick Santorum looks a little

Rick Santorum looks a little bit like Eddie Haskel.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 09:04 pm
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So, that's why I like Mitt,

So, that's why I like Mitt, thanks, Riverman. You are right about Rick/Eddie; there's something just beneath the surface that is sooooo sneaky... I have a pearl fettish, that I got from June.

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