High School principal R. Wiley Brownlee was tarred and feathered by the KKK after he left a board meeting where he proposed the school district honor Martin Luther King, Jr. A student took this photo of Brownlee when he returned to the school for help. April 3, 1971. Michigan.

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I’m from a super racist part of Michigan. It’s not spoken of because people know it’s frowned upon to be open about their racist thoughts but nearly everyone I knew, myself included was conditioned to be white supremacist. I never even realized until I left and moved to Chicago and started meeting new people who came from different upbringings for the first time. It’s really sad and it’s brought only pain and suffering, economically as well as emotionally, to the entire state. Particularly in Detroit which was a major hub for the kkk, nobody wants to admit it. It’s not spoken about in schools or history books. Not because it’s too recent in our history but because people want to cover it up to make it easier to continue these practices and to hide their embarrassment if it became more widely publicized.

I have no idea where all this ignorance initially entered the culture from but I have seen confederate flags flying all the way up in Gaylord and traverse city. I always want to pull over and ask these people whether they are aware that the flag was used during the civil war as the national flag of the confederacy…. And that they are located in Michigan which is very, very far from the historical confederacy. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if most of them didn’t even know.

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