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Community unites against racist vandalism

Ray Gora / LTN
Community members come together Thursday to scrub away hateful vandalism that was painted on a railroad crossing power supply shed overnight in Lincolnton.

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

Area residents told the Times-News Thursday that they were offended and outraged after vandals spray-painted a racial slur earlier this week on a power supply box for a railroad arm grade crossing on Carolina Mill Circle in Lincolnton.
Due to the offensiveness of the words written, which included “Raise hell” and were signed with “KKK,” the Times-News chose not to publish the full inscription.
“KKK was” was also written on a piece of pavement beside the tracks.
Using water and other household products, neighbors teamed up Thursday afternoon to wash off the words, which dumbfounded at least two local residents, Edith Willis, who’s lived in on Carolina Mill Circle for nearly 20 years, and Shannon Matney, who also lives along the street in her great-grandmother’s house.
Both women were upset to see such offensive language displayed in their hometown.
“I’m embarrassed to pull in here,” Matney said.
She noticed the hateful statement Wednesday morning and considered it the tipping point in a lengthy list of criminal activities that have taken place in the neighborhood, some of which have included a broken railroad arm grade crossing and damage to her and her husband’s vehicles.
“Trouble has been going on around here, and I wish it would stop,” Matney said. “We need cops out here a lot more.”
Willis had suspicions that maybe some of the neighborhood teens, and not KKK members, were behind the cruel act.
“I didn’t see who done it, but I wish I had,” she said.
Frankie Reinhardt, a volunteer with Lincoln County’s Democratic party, was shocked over the vandal’s audacity to degrade her African-American heritage and falsely represent her county.
“It’s an insult to Lincoln County because everybody doesn’t feel that way,” she said.
She also believed the incident was an attempt to incite some sort of local racial battle near election time since the Presidential candidates differ in race.
“We’re not going to stoop that low (and fight back),” she said. “We’re here to live together and to work together.”

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