Pastor fights to close KKK store

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LAURENS, S.C. --- A black civil rights activist is fighting to close a store that sells KKK robes and T-shirts emblazoned with racial slurs. David Kennedy is confident he can make it happen. After all, he says he owns the building.

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The Rev. David Kennedy looks at items as store owner John Howard watches inside the Redneck Shop in Laurens, S.C. The Rev. Kennedy owns the building but can't shut down the store.  Associated Press
Associated Press
The Rev. David Kennedy looks at items as store owner John Howard watches inside the Redneck Shop in Laurens, S.C. The Rev. Kennedy owns the building but can't shut down the store.

Since 1996, the Redneck Shop has operated in an old movie theater that, according to court records, was transferred in 1997 to the Rev. Kennedy and the Baptist church he leads.

"Our ownership puts an end to that history as far as violence and hatred, racism being practiced in that place and also the recruiting of the Klan," the Rev. Kennedy said. "This is the same place that we had to go up into the balcony to go to the movies before the Klan took it. So there's a lot of history there."

But legal documents also indicate that the man who runs the store, 62-year-old John Howard, is entitled to operate his business in the building until he dies. Now the dispute may go to court.

The Rev. Kennedy, 54, has led protests outside the store but said he has never been able to close it because of the agreement that Mr. Howard can run the shop for life.

The reverend envisions the building as a potential future home for his New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church, which now meets in a double-wide trailer.

The Rev. Kennedy claims he can't even visit his own property because Mr. Howard won't let him in. But that didn't happen during a recent visit with an Associated Press reporter and photographer.

"Reverend Kennedy, where you been hiding?" Mr. Howard shouted when the door opened.

Inside the store, hooded Klan robes hang on the same rack as the racist T-shirts. Pictures of men, women and children in Klan clothing and pamphlets tell a partial history of the organization.

Mr. Howard used to own the whole building. When his store opened, he said, people threw rocks, spit in his doorway and picketed. A month later, a man intentionally crashed his van through the front windows.

"If anything turns people off, they shouldn't come in here. It's not a thing in here that's against the law," Mr. Howard said, adding that he was once the KKK's grand dragon for South Carolina and North Carolina.

The town of Laurens, about 30 miles southeast of Greenville, was named after 18th century slave trader Henry Laurens. Some addresses are still marked with the letter "C" that once designated black homes as "colored."

The Rev. Kennedy said progress has always been slow to come to Laurens.

"There are two powers in the world: the mind and the sword," he said. "In the long run, the sword is defeated by the mind. I want to destroy the concept of hatred."

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owensjef
13
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owensjef 03/11/08 - 03:15 am
0
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What da

What da

JamesJMcGee
0
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JamesJMcGee 03/11/08 - 03:40 am
0
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Hmmm and from the peanut

Hmmm and from the peanut gallery?

WISE-OLE-OWL
1
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WISE-OLE-OWL 03/11/08 - 05:35 am
0
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The KKK has long outlived

The KKK has long outlived it's usefullness, if indeed it ever had any.

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 03/11/08 - 05:53 am
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[filtered word]? I say to the entire town

[filtered word]? I say to the entire town of LAURENS, S.C., "You sir are an idiot!"

Reality
3
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Reality 03/11/08 - 05:59 am
0
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I believe it is his right to

I believe it is his right to sell the stuff, if you don't like it, don't go in the shop. I am sure there are no stores that sell the opposite of his.. If I was a vegetarian I wouldn't eat at a Steak House..

nofrills
0
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nofrills 03/11/08 - 06:08 am
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I dont like what the store

I dont like what the store sells or for what it stands for but as an american he has his rights to. This sword has two edges so becareful of what you want. If you want to close it because you dont like what it sells or stands for then Abortion Clinics need to be closed to and what about bars? I dont drink and people who visit them get drunk and cause problems. Not all of them but some so lets get rid of bars because I dont like what they stand for. you see how this would work. Soon the general public would be able to decide your fate in life. So leave the old man alone and if he wants to sell hate then let him but we dont have to visit or bring him into the public eye.

christian134
1
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christian134 03/11/08 - 06:33 am
0
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Good morning all....KKK has

Good morning all....KKK has outlived it usefulness as well as NAACP ....can't stay around today having some surgery see ya'll later. :-)

jaschild
5
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jaschild 03/11/08 - 06:49 am
0
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hmmmmm, would this get

hmmmmm, would this get reported with the same slant if it were a BLACK POWER store?? i agree, the KKK and NAACP have outlived their usefulness- but the diehards will keep it alive. this man is doing nothing illegal. the Rev may want to put his energy into the youth recruiting for gangs and spewing hate in their "rap" songs.

Reality
3
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Reality 03/11/08 - 06:53 am
0
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d1216, I thought your first

d1216, I thought your first comment missed the mark, but your last one is really out there. So you think if Obama gets elected you can get a free house because you are black? If the police try to pull you over, don't run if you haven't broken the law....You only want to be treated different, if it benefits you.

shivas
2
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shivas 03/11/08 - 07:00 am
0
0
It's nice to see the

It's nice to see the defenders of hate are out in full force comparing a legitimate organization like the NAACP with the KKK. Can't remember th last time the NAACP lynched someone for being white. But heck, those are minor details to the God-fearing folks like Christian134. Maybe ya'll would support those Islamic militant shops as well that sell T-shirts glorifying 911. Ya'll are just the same as those Islamic terrorists who rationalize their hate and evil with God's will.

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
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BakersfieldCityLimits 03/11/08 - 07:01 am
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Reality, hadn't commented

Reality, hadn't commented here yet, but since you asked: Come Novermber and we have an African American presidient you can bet we won't have to come hat in hand begging someone to let us shut down the klan store. Its a new day, comming and you can like it or not but its the change that you fear.

0000000000
0
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0000000000 03/11/08 - 07:02 am
0
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We met my in-laws in Laurens

We met my in-laws in Laurens last year to visit the local corn maize. While walking around we spotted the "Redneck Shop". Of course from a distance we got a giggle & had to go check it out. To say the least we were shocked. When you get about 10 feet into the store your eyes start to focus on the items listed in the article. My son was 6 at the time & we couldnt get out fast enough. The scary part was there were 3 "men" behind the counter that started playing some aweful racial music as soon as we walked in. VERY CREEPY!!!!! They attempted to start up conversation with us. We were polite as we made our way to the door, wanting to run FAST!! The sad part was when we walked out there were a small group of African American men getting into a car across the street that looked our way as we stepped out onto the sidewalk. I felt sick. Just the thought that my family-MY 6 YEAR OLD-looked like a racist!!!! I wanted to run over to those young men & say sorry. I guess now I am. The name of the shop is VERY misleading (we were thinking Jeff Foxworthy tshirts). Life is too short. The town of Laurens is a beautiful town with very nice people. Im about freedom of speech-but not hate!

Reality
3
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Reality 03/11/08 - 07:12 am
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What I really fear is people

What I really fear is people like yourself that don't vote on issues but strictly on skin color. He is half black and half caucasian, is he African or American? His wife has just decided that she is proud to be an American, and these are the people you want to run the country? You probably voted for Charles Walker ..

jaschild
5
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jaschild 03/11/08 - 07:17 am
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the man is legally selling

the man is legally selling his goods, whether we like it or not. this is not a freedom of speech scenario. there are vendors out there selling drug paraphernalia, shirts that encourage/advertise drugs, war, sex, alcohol ....stores that sell adult videos and sex toys.

Does_it_really_matter
1
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Does_it_really_matter 03/11/08 - 07:18 am
0
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d1216 - I don't agree with

d1216 - I don't agree with the message the store gives or the items sold - however, even if Obama gets elected, he can't over-ride the constitution and simply close a store because you or he do not agree with what the store sells. The man has the freedom to operate a business in the free enterprise system of the US of A. There is a reason this country was started - freedom from government rule and freedome to worship as we pleased were two of these reasons. Again, I don't agree with black power paraphernalia, so I don't frequent places that sell it - I don't agree with Klan paraphernalia, so I won't be going there either. Everyone have a good day and play nice.

sliique
0
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sliique 03/11/08 - 07:23 am
0
0
Why don t ya'll STAT ON

Why don t ya'll STAT ON TOPIC? Obama has NOTHING to do with this new article. (even IF his friend and "pastor," who, like Obama is NOT Black, but racially MIXED, IS RACIST)

naugliberal
0
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naugliberal 03/11/08 - 07:29 am
0
0
Only idiots would compare the

Only idiots would compare the KKK with the NAACP.

Daddyrabbit
0
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Daddyrabbit 03/11/08 - 07:38 am
0
0
Right or wrong, read the

Right or wrong, read the article again!!! HE WANTS TO USE THE PROPERTY FOR SOMETHING ELSE!!! Otherwise he was content to accept the rent for 11years....Isn't the reasoning the minister gives sort of a false? And as for D1216 remember, IF Obama is elected and IF Hillary is vice president, Obama will probably die in a mysterious accicent and Hillary will be president...She only cares about herself. What will you think then?

Reality
3
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Reality 03/11/08 - 07:42 am
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I guess the good Rev. wasn't

I guess the good Rev. wasn't using his "mind" when he bought the property from Mr. Howard and signed a life time lease.....

route66
0
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route66 03/11/08 - 07:45 am
0
0
There are really some stupid

There are really some stupid posters on this site. The man is running a legal business selling legal items. Like someone else posted, "if you don't like it, don't go there"!

john
987
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john 03/11/08 - 07:45 am
0
0
Yes, do tell what use the

Yes, do tell what use the Klan brought to society back in the day? Im sure it is a moving story of community service.

intheknow
16
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intheknow 03/11/08 - 07:46 am
0
0
Boy, boy, boy, I see the

Boy, boy, boy, I see the Klans I mean the gang's all here.

WHATDIDIDO
0
Points
WHATDIDIDO 03/11/08 - 07:50 am
0
0
Someone please tell me the

Someone please tell me the last time a member of the NAACP was involved in a lynching? Christian I am not shocked by your comparing the two. It's takes a person with your mindset to do so.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 03/11/08 - 07:54 am
0
0
You get the idea that the ole

You get the idea that the ole redneck enjoys goading his black landlord. Seems to qualify as a "hate" crime. Ya gotta love America. If the parson was smart he would invite the Black Panthers to open up a headquarters in the same building. hee, hee.

dani
12
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dani 03/11/08 - 08:00 am
0
0
For those who don't know,

For those who don't know, George Bush will be president in November. His term expires Jan 20, 2009. You might have to delay any celebrating for McCain until then..

jaschild
5
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jaschild 03/11/08 - 08:04 am
0
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bizarro, LOL. i agree. i'm

bizarro, LOL. i agree. i'm sure the rednecks are enjoying the limelight.

WHATDIDIDO
0
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WHATDIDIDO 03/11/08 - 08:16 am
0
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Reality, did you vote for

Reality, did you vote for whomever you did because they were " White"?

WHATDIDIDO
0
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WHATDIDIDO 03/11/08 - 08:19 am
0
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Now you got some idiot

Now you got some idiot killing Obama off, before he is even elected. Only here is it okay to talk about killing someone.

DontTazeMeBro
2
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DontTazeMeBro 03/11/08 - 08:22 am
0
0
This is giving us Rednecks a

This is giving us Rednecks a bad name! Couldn't they call it the Racist Store?

WHATDIDIDO
0
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WHATDIDIDO 03/11/08 - 08:28 am
0
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Hey Christian, nothing like

Hey Christian, nothing like YOUR fellow Christians owning a store you can enjoy.

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