Redneck Shop

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The Redneck Shop is a white nationalism and neo-Nazi clothing store in Laurens, South Carolina, which sells T-shirts, bumper stickers, and Ku Klux Klan robes, among other things. It is run by South Carolina native John Howard, who describes himself as a former Klan leader.[1]

The building also features a "Klan Museum" in a back room. It is decorated with posters of President Warren G. Harding, whom some allege was a Klan member, though many historians refute this.[2][3]

Building ownership[edit]

The shop is located in a downtown Laurens building that formerly housed the Echo Theater. The building is currently owned by the Rev. David Kennedy, a black civil rights leader and Baptist pastor. The shop has acquired a great deal of publicity due to this unusual arrangement.[4]

The building was formerly owned by Michael Burden, who was himself a Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux Klan. However, Burden found himself impoverished after leaving the KKK. Burden then approached Kennedy and apologized for his racist past, agreeing to sell Kennedy the deed to the Redneck Shop with the provision that Burden would be allowed to run the shop until his death. Kennedy accepted the deal.[1][4]

In 1996, a white man from West Columbia, South Carolina, drove his van into the Redneck Shop as a protest against the store's racism. Kennedy said that he later told the man that, while he obviously does not agree with Howard's views, he does not feel that violence is an appropriate response.[1][5]

As a meeting place for white supremacists[edit]

In addition to selling merchandise, the Redneck Shop has also been used as a meeting place for white supremacists; in 2006, it was the headquarters for the Aryan Nations' World Congress. Also, in 2008, neo-Nazi John Taylor Bowles utilized the building as the headquarters for his 2008 presidential campaign.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "REALITY OF RACE: ‘Redneck Shop’ a Hotbed of Hate". Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ "A Visit to South Carolina's Redneck Shop and Ku Klux Klan Museum". Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Was Warren Harding inducted into the KKK while president?". The Straight Dope. Chicago: Chicago Reader. 8 November 2005. Retrieved 4 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Shop of Horrors". Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  5. ^ ""Redneck Shop" Causes Racial Rift In S.C.". CBS News. March 10, 2008. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. 

External links[edit]