BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Graffiti promoting a white supremacist organization has appeared in multiple locations in Birmingham, including in Fountain Heights: a historically Jewish, now predominantly Black neighborhood where the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is located.
The graffiti promoted the Patriot Front, a white nationalist organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group.
A large painted banner promoting the hate group appeared this weekend under the 12th Court North bridge in the Fountain Heights neighborhood and was visible from Interstate 65.
The group, which has connections to the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally according to the SPLC, advocates for a white ethnostate.
“An African, for example, may have lived, worked, and even been classed as a citizen in America for centuries, yet he is not American,” the organization’s manifesto said.
Pictures of the graffiti circulated on social media just days before the kickoff of the World Games, which will bring international attention to the Magic City from July 7-17.
The appearance of the racist imagery comes just days after masked white supremacists marched in Boston under the banner of the Patriot Front.
“Our community has been terrorized for decades at the hand of groups like this, and we cannot let this stand,” Dominique Villanueva, a local resident, wrote of the graffiti.
By midday July 4, the banner in Fountain Heights had been painted over.
Birmingham City Councilor LaTonya Tate commented on photos of the social media posts about the graffiti, confirming that the image had been covered.
“Issue resolved,” Tate commented on the post.
In a statement sent to CBS 42, Tate, who chairs the city council’s public safety committee, said that incidents like this are unacceptable.
“Graffiti sprayed by white supremacist, nationalist and neo-racist hate groups on any wall or interstate will not be tolerated in the City of Birmingham,” Tate said.
Other residents of the area who reached out to CBS 42 on Monday provided photos of similar graffiti that has not yet been addressed. The images, which also promote Patriot Front, are painted on concrete bridge support beams on Powell Avenue South near the Red Mountain Expressway.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, condemned the white supremacist imagery in a statement on July 4.
“Americans who value racial justice and equality must speak up each time racism rears its ugly head,” Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s national communications director, said. “As white supremacists and other bigots increasingly spread their hatred nationwide, community leaders must continue to repudiate racism.”
According to the SPLC, groups like the Patriot Front engage in such activity to raise their public profile.
“Virtually all its activities are undertaken with propaganda value in mind,” the SPLC has written of the group.