LAURENS, S.C. (WSPA) – There is a renewed push in Laurens County to change a building with a history of hate. The building used to be called “The Redneck Shop.” It housed a KKK museum, and served as a meeting place for white supremacist groups. However, it ended up in the hands of a local reverend who told us there has been new momentum to get the renovation started.
It’s a building that Laurens County Reverend David Kennedy said has been a part of his life for a long time. But, he said it’s not one that holds good memories.
“He says, I’ve seen some things in there that I don’t really want to share with you,” said New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church Reverend, David Kennedy.
The building used to be a meeting spot for the Ku Klux Klan. You can see haunting glimpses of symbols that have been attempted to be covered up. Their meaning though, still very much alive.
“Racism is so systemic. It’s a strange organism. When you think you have defeated it, that’s when you make a mistake,” Rev. Kennedy said.
But Reverend Kennedy has a plan to to turn that hate into love, compassion and acceptance. He acquired the now dilapidated building a couple years back.
He has had a mission to turn it into a multi-cultural or diversity center.
“A place where love is taught,” Kennedy told 7 News.
However, getting the funds to do so hasn’t been easy. That is until the last couple of days.
“This week has been incredible because over $16,000 came in,” Kennedy said.
He told us donations are pouring in. Reverend Kennedy believes the civil rights movement happening now is playing a role.
“I think the young white citizens in America and older who saw this, they said, yes African Americans are right. Enough is enough,” said Kennedy.
And while he said, this building has left scars behind, he’s hopeful of what’s ahead.
“We know one thing, racism and hatred, they’re both destructive and they have no hope but we know love and kindness, they have hope,” Kennedy told us.
Exactly when renovations will be done is up in the air. However Reverend Kennedy told us people are coming out Friday to help. He said the first step is getting the boards off the doors to fix up the entrance.
If you would like to donate to the project, you can find information to do that here: https://rehabhate.com/