A fire destroyed large parts of the Highlander Research and Education Center, a civil rights center in New Market, Tenn. with the Washington Post and other media outlets reporting that a “white power” symbol was found nearby:
After a massive fire at a famous civil rights center, officials found a ‘white power’ symbol nearby https://t.co/4haX6VUd0d
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 3, 2019
Luckily most of the collection was housed in a different building and are safe. Authorities are investigating:
The fire is being investigated by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and state fire investigators. Its origin has not been determined.
Oddly, the Washington Post didn’t get around to describing the “white power” symbol until the 7th paragraph where we learn that what they found was a “hashtag-like” symbol:
Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Coffey, who did not return a request for comment, told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the graffiti was a hashtag-like symbol discovered at the scene Friday.
“It’s not a traditional, throw-it-in-your-face symbol that you would immediately recognize,” Coffey told the newspaper. “But it has been used by individuals in the past. We have seen this symbol associated with different groups.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, the center said the symbol was “spray-painted on the parking lot.” No photograph was included:
We also found a symbol connected to the white power movement spray-painted on the parking lot connected to the main office.
Sheriff Coffey told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he’s requested the aid of “another law enforcement agency” to investigate the hashtag graffiti, but for some reason, it’s a secret:
The sheriff said his office has requested assistance from another law enforcement agency to verify the context of the symbol. Coffey declined to specify which agency has been contacted.
Now, we’re not saying this wasn’t a hate crime, but we do remember a similar incident when Sarah Silverman mistook a surveyor’s mark for a swastika:
'No one is this dumb': Sarah Silverman confuses surveyor's mark with a swastika? https://t.co/sOWY3M50kO
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) February 13, 2017
Why haven’t they shared a photo of this “not a traditional, throw-it-in-your-face symbol that you would immediately recognize”?
We’ll keep you posted if/when more information becomes available.