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‘White Power’ Symbol Found After Blaze Destroys Social Justice Center Tied To Key Civil Rights Leaders

A symbol associated with a white nationalist movement was discovered at the site of a burned down social justice center in New Market, Tennessee.

The Highlander Research and Education Center is considered to be one of the oldest social justice institutions. It once hosted historic civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Peter Seeger and Rosa Parks.

According to the Center’s news release on Tuesday, a blaze engulfed and destroyed the main office building on Friday night. Nobody was injured.

The New Market fire department posted photos of the business fire on their Facebook page.

Highlander suspects that the arson was the work of white supremacists after discovering a “white power” symbol in the parking lot near the main office.

“While we don’t know the names of the culprits, we know that the white power movement has been increasing and consolidating power across the South, across this nation, and globally.”

“Since 2016, the white power movement has become more visible, and we’ve seen that manifest in various ways, both subtle and overt.”

Highlander Center/Facebook

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement saying they are investigating the cause of the conflagration and are working with state bomb and arson agents.

They are additionally looking into any affiliation with the reprehensible symbol.

“We are investigating a symbol that was painted in the parking area of the office to see if it has any affiliation to any individual or group.”

The Center played a significant role in training and supporting the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee according to their website.

Many on social media are calling this an act of domestic terrorism.

Highlander urged the community to stay vigilant and “to love each other and support each other and to keep each other safe in turbulent times” in the wake of the incident.

“Now is not the time to dismiss how scary things are, which makes it even more important to have concrete assessments of concrete conditions, and sophisticated strategies to build a new world.”

The fire destroyed many of the Center’s precious and historical documents and memorabilia from many important milestone movements. A further assessment of damage and loss is pending until authorities grant clearance to re-enter the premises.

The Center’s destruction is one of many hate-related acts of vandalism on the rise.

NBC News reported that the Oklahoma Democratic Party headquarters and a Chickasaw Nation office were also vandalized with white power graffiti the day before the Highlander fire.

Oklahoma City police were looking for a female suspect responsible for spray-painting the buildings with anti-Chinese slurs, swastikas and the numbers “1488” – which are used by white supremacists to refer to Adolf Hitler.

 

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Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1