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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scorehouse
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:06 pm
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riverman looks like
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riverman looks like buckwheat. otay?

scorehouse
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:07 pm
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sorry, i meant larry, curley,
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sorry, i meant larry, curley, and moe! lol

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:16 pm
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It used to tick off the kids

It used to tick off the kids in my poor neighborhood growing up that the Cleavers' house was so dang big. All the houses in other TV shows, too. I mean they had staircases and all. We used to say, "Oh, that's just on TV." Plus, Ward always wore a tie. My daddy was dressed when he had on his wifebeaters undershirt. Plus, there was the way they ate so polite at the table. At my house everybody was grabbing food.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:20 pm
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Hey Willow, you know

Hey Willow, you know something else about those old shows I remember now? They never had any religion in them. No one ever uttered "Jesus Christ" or anything and they didn't go to church. Down South we all had Bibles and all kinds of religious things around the house. Ever notice that?

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 08:21 pm
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River, if you keep pulling

River, if you keep pulling our legs, we're gonna be lopsided:)

scorehouse
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:24 pm
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i've been to the cleavers
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i've been to the cleavers house. it's in universal studios, LA. the door jams are maybe 6 feet. it's so small you couldn't live in it.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:28 pm
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No, really, there was never a

No, really, there was never a mention of religion in any of those old shows. I used to wonder about that because at my house the least little thing could set off a prayer session.

But I have to tell you, I thought Lucy was pretty hot. Something about her getting behind trying to keep the pies on the conveyor belt going that turned me on. Either her or the pies...not sure exactly which one.

scorehouse
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:28 pm
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there is a Church of Beaver
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there is a Church of Beaver Cleaver! look it up.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 08:31 pm
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River,I don't remember June

River,I don't remember June & Ward going to church, but they modelled bibical standards, which is even more powerful than preaching, as... more is caught, than taught. Yes, we are in the Bible Belt, and church was/is part of our culture, more so, than up north.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:31 pm
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Scorehouse, I looked that up.

Scorehouse, I looked that up. It's true and wild.

"A modern evolutionary synthesis of religious and political thought as imbodied in Ward Cleaver and the interpersonal relationships of the Cleaver household. The Eternal Triad made up of Wally, Beaver and Eddie. The Supreme Duo made up of Ward and June."

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 08:33 pm
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Andy Griffin went to church.

Andy Griffin went to church.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:35 pm
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Yeah, you may be right about

Yeah, you may be right about Andy. I liked his style. I still use him in my comments about police handling matters like Sheriff Andy would. I do recall a show where Sheriff Andy sang a gospel song.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 08:36 pm
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But, whether they showed

But, whether they showed going to church or not, the old shows (mostly) modelled respect for themselves and others. Godly principles. And consequences really happened for those who did wrong. And people admitted their wrongs and asked for forgiveness....ie., Lucy.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 08:37 pm
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Why can't I see Scorehouse?

Why can't I see Scorehouse?

scorehouse
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:37 pm
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i thought the supreme duo was
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i thought the supreme duo was batman and robin! shout out andy going to church. he's one of holywoods most avowed leftists!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:37 pm
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Willow, you have those TV

Willow, you have those TV shows analyzed as passion plays. So how did Gilligan's Island, Mary Ann and Tina Louise fit it?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:38 pm
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I've got the same problem

I've got the same problem with Scorehouse's posts here.

scorehouse
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:40 pm
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i'd say tight. very tight.
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i'd say tight. very tight.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 08:41 pm
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Compare it to what's on

Compare it to what's on today. As you know, what is being modelled for others to emulate? And how's that working for us?

scorehouse
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:42 pm
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is their anybody out there?
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is their anybody out there? p. fLOyd

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 08:44 pm
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Gilligan, Mary Ann and Tina

Gilligan, Mary Ann and Tina Louise were all single people as I recall...
And they had legitimate feelings and needs. Did we see them act on them inappropriately? Remember the rich millionaire, he liked to look, but he didn't betray his wife....what do you think?

scorehouse
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scorehouse 01/03/12 - 08:45 pm
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why does everyone neglect
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why does everyone neglect lumpy?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:53 pm
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Gilligan's Island was good,

Gilligan's Island was good, clean fun as they say. Plus, we got to watch Mary Ann and Tina Louise. They were kind of like any group of cheerleaders I've ever seen. There is always one flashy Tina type, but then you go back to Mary Ann. She had that reliability factor, plus she liked Gilligan which showed she had good tastes......Okay..I'm out of here, folks. Later.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 08:54 pm
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Ha, Lumpy.

Ha, Lumpy.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 01/03/12 - 09:07 pm
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Yep, the reliability factor

Yep, the reliability factor comes in good.

Huh? on your 8:54.

shrimp for breakfast
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shrimp for breakfast 01/03/12 - 09:09 pm
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The slave trader Henry

The slave trader Henry Laurens was from Charleston and when he died his family decided to have him creamated. His friends built a huge funeral pire on the banks of the Cooper river and as he was burning his head seperated from his body , fell to the ground and rolled into the Cooper river. It's said that one of his slaves who "loved" him retrieved it and tried to put it back on the fire burning his arms as he did.
That's the way the story goes anyway...

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/12 - 09:33 pm
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About my 8:54 post. It was in

About my 8:54 post. It was in response to another of Scorehouse's that isn't showing up. He said why does everyone always neglect Lumpy. I responded with the ha, Lumpy.

itsanotherday
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itsanotherday 01/03/12 - 11:16 pm
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I was watching an old
Unpublished

I was watching an old Rifleman show the other day, and I noted to my wife that I loved those old shows. There was a clear line between right and wrong, the good guys always prevailed, no hip hip, and there was always a moral to the story.

onlysane1left
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onlysane1left 01/03/12 - 11:35 pm
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Funny, people are on here

Funny, people are on here talking about the black panthers, like they still exist! I see the Redneck shop is still in business and leave wonderful gifts to the church like dead carcasses and hate symbols tacked to the church, but I guess the black panther did that and not KKK supporters, since they are the same. I guess from this article, only black on white bigotry exists and not the reversal. Damn those NAACP people for keeping this race hate going........

Asitisinaug
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Asitisinaug 01/03/12 - 11:46 pm
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It may not be illegal but is

It may not be illegal but is certainly is unethical and not part of any America I wish to live in.

Glad the church has ownership, hope they get paid the attorney fees and can also at the very least charge a fair rent or evict the persons.

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