Residents of a quiet, peaceful section of Marshall Terrace, a Danville neighborhood near West Main Street, woke Thursday morning to an unwelcome surprise in their front lawns.
Small, rolled up flyers had been placed in front of their houses, sporting racial and other discriminatory slurs.
While no one knows for sure who passed out the material, the handouts did sport the signature of the Loyal White Knights, a branch of the Ku Klux Klan.
At least two different flyers have been identified so far. One ad called for America to “wake up,” and asked readers who have had enough of “racial mixing” to “support the white revolution.”
Another flyer used inflammatory language to promote discrimination against gays and lesbians, while also insulting immigrants and non-white ethic groups.
But if the distributors had meant to garner support, their efforts seem to have had the exact opposite effect.
One resident, an 86-year-old woman, said she found the rubber-banded note sitting on the grass between the sidewalk and the street in front of her home, and opened it out of curiosity. When she discovered what it was, she said she was angry — just long enough to march inside and throw the paper away. Then she promptly put the offensive message out of her mind.
“I resent it,” she said. “It just aggravated me. I picked it up and put it in the trash where it belonged.”
The resident said she has been living in the neighborhood for more than 50 years. This is the first time she’s ever seen anything like this happen on her street. But while she was angered and disgusted by the flyer, which according to her was “looking for trouble,” she said it’s not terribly surprising that this sort of hate still exists.
“There’s always going to be radicals,” she said, shrugging. “I would tell my neighbors to just throw this thing in the trash, too.”
She also said she doubts the message got out to as many people as the perpetrator intended.
“I only opened it because I saw it and was curious,” she said. “It didn’t even really look like anything, so you know, I doubt if most people even unrolled it.”
Danville Police Chief Philip Broadfoot said this isn’t the first time KKK flyers have popped up in the city, but they are extremely rare. According to him, this has only happened two or three times in the last decade.
The police department was made aware of the incident through a number of calls made by concerned residents, Broadfoot said. He also added that some people even brought flyers to the police. It appears more than 500 flyers were distributed.
Broadfoot explained that the flyers clearly violated a section of the Danville Code of Ordinances, which states that it is a criminal offense to deposit any unauthorized advertising materials on public or private property. The police department is currently looking into the situation.
“If we can determine who threw the note, we will make a charge, absolutely,” he said.