Racist Graffiti Aimed At Franklin County Church

| May 27, 2010

VILLA RIDGE, MO (KTVI-FOX2now.com) – Vandals attack a 116 year old African American church in Villa Ridge, Missouri, painting the 'n' word on a sign. "This makes me feel like were going backwards," says church trustee Adell Allen. "In reality, maybe we havent gone that far."

Marva Gaylor was in the car with her daughter when she discovered the slur, in red letters, on a sign about 100 yards from Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The sign warns traffic to slow down when approaching church property.

"I'm beyond words," says Gaylor.

Gaylors great grandfather was a slave who founded Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church, on what was a gravel road in Franklin County in 1894. Gaylors parents still live on adjoining land and still attend Rose Hill every Sunday. That someone would paint one of the most offensive words in the English language on a sign is indescribable.

"I'm like, 'The 'n' word? You're kidding me!' I was just livid," says Gaylors sister Joyce Brooks, who lives in the Villa Ridge community and is still a member of Rose Hill. "How could anybody do this? I thought this stuff was over," she says.

Gaylor was going to visit her elderly parents, who live on a farm next to church property, when she made the discovery. She says she became hysterical, screaming at her daughter, who was driving, to turn around. When they did they were shocked. Six letters set the entire community back 60 years.

"This is the first time I've ever been faced by that word. I've never been called that word," says Gaylor's daughter Theresa Yokely. "My grandparents live right down the road, and I'm fearful. If you're that bold, and you've got that much hatred in you, its scary. It's been like a reality check."

Two Franklin County deputies began their investigation late Wednesday, taking pictures of the sign and canvassing the area to see if any neighbors saw anything.

"I'm beyond words that something would happen on a street where I lived as a little girl," says Gaylor. "You talk about racism, I know what it is. I know what it is to walk to Union, Missouri and be told you cant go in the drug store. And be forced to sit outside to eat an ice cream. I'd sit outside with my sister, ice cream dripping to my elbows because they wouldn't allow us to have an ice cream in Union."

"That word, I thought, was erased from the hearts and minds of people. But its still fresh. Its still alive," she says.

"All I can do is ask my Lord to have mercy on those who do this kind of thing," says Brooks.

The Franklin County Sheriffs Department is asking for the publics help. Anyone with information is asked to call them.




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Category: Church Security

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