The small city of Springville, Al., got an early Martin Luther King Jr. Day present this week.
On Wednesday, an anti-diversity billboard, apparently paid for by a group of anonymous segregationists calling themselves the White Genocide Project, was removed just five days after it went went up along I-59.
Before it was taken down and rolled up, the sign declared, “Diversity Means Chasing Down the Last White Person” with “#white genocide” on the bottom.
Springville Mayor William Isley sprung into the action after it first appeared and denounced the sign’s message, a variation on what is known as the “The Mantra," a 221-word racist credo that ends with the phrase, “Anti-Racist is a Code Word for Anti-White.”
“The City of Springville has a history of promoting racial harmony for many years,” Isley said in a statement the day before the sign was removed. “Any message which cuts against such harmony is very disturbing to the City and is inconsistent with the desires and intent of the City government. The City has no connection or control over the sign at issue and denounces the message thereon as being racially offensive.”
Shannon Dyar, co-owner of the billboard company that owned the space, apologized to the community and told a television station from nearby Birmingham, “We in no way had any input into the wording of the sign and do not support it."
Dyar and his brother personally climbed to the top of the billboard and removed the sign. Dyar told the station he was glad it was down and that he had been bombarded with so many threats he turned is business phone off.
“I’m not a racist,” he told the station. “I’m just a businessman and this is probably not the best decision we ever made, but we rectified it and hope everybody is happy.”
Whether the White Genocide Project is happy is unclear. The group had been trying to raise $3,500 to put up a similar sign in an undisclosed northern city. Now they may be able to do that sooner than they expected.
Dyar said he refunded several thousand dollars to the people who purchased the space.