Local News

'White History' sign could prompt changes in Hope Mills parades

Posted July 5, 2013
Updated July 6, 2013

Farmer Donnie Spell, who has driven his tractor in the Hope Mills Independence Day parade for years, tacked a sign saying "White History Month - Hug Wht Ppl" to a trailer filled with watermelons that he pulled down Main Street during the July 4, 2013, event. (Photo from Twitter)
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— Town officials are considering adopting tougher rules for participation in parades in Hope Mills after an entry in the Independence Day parade prompted complaints.

Farmer Donnie Spell, who has driven his tractor in the Hope Mills parade for years, tacked a sign saying "White History Month – Hug Wht Ppl" to a trailer filled with watermelons that he pulled down Main Street during Thursday's event.

Spell's tractor also featured a Confederate flag, which officials said he's flown before during the Independence Day parade.

His entry form for the parade lists only his antique tractors and a load of watermelons for sale.

"There was no mention of any type of signage," Town Manager John Ellis said. "At the lineup, our parks and recreation director saw it. The gentleman was asked to remove it. We thought it had been removed."

Spell couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

"I think, if you talk to him, you're going to see it's not anything meant to be vicious," Mayor Jackie Warner said.

Warner said she and other officials have received complaints about the sign, and the incident has upset her.

"I worry that, the day and time we're in, we need – I don't want to have to say be cautious – but I think we have to be respectful of all," she said. Hope Mills parade sign Hope Mills officials upset over sign they asked to be removed

Some local residents said they would question the sign but wouldn't be offended by it.

"It would catch my eye. I would be kind of like, 'What's the deal?' Why are you doing something like this?'" Carletta Santana said.

"I would think about it, but it wouldn't bother me to that point, you know, because I'm my own person," Giovaughn Jackson said.

Ellis said Hope Mills wants to keep its parade "a wholesome family event," so officials are going to see how other towns handle parade entries to determine how to prevent future problems.

"This particular incident is one of those things that we’ve got to get beyond, but we’ll try to do a better job in the next parade," Warner said.

157 Comments

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  • lec02572 Jul 12, 2:58 p.m.

    What is the difference between this sign and having, "Black History Month?"

  • LastSon1981 Jul 10, 12:51 p.m.

    So basically a white guy stood up for himself and has been labled some sort of radical or racist. If he would of had a NAACP or United Negro College Fund flag it would have been accepted. The minoraties only like heritage or history when it plays in their favor.

    kermit60

    I didn't know this article has anything to do with the NAACP or United Negro College Fund.

  • kermit60 Jul 10, 8:18 a.m.

    So basically a white guy stood up for himself and has been labled some sort of radical or racist. If he would of had a NAACP or United Negro College Fund flag it would have been accepted. The minoraties only like heritage or history when it plays in their favor.

  • LastSon1981 Jul 9, 1:03 p.m.

    @Noturtypicalamerican

    I feel you on that considering there is a Confederate Heritage month the only people who should be upset are white people from the north or mid west and west coast. Ofcourse people don't take time to find these things out they just let their true selves shine through when thing like this happen. What really gets me are the people who are mad about BET when there are more than 10 Spanish channels out there. If you read this and pointed out anything about African Americans or blacks you might want to search your soul because the article is about a sign.

  • NotUrTypicalAmerican Jul 9, 10:32 a.m.

    Given England was just starting to toy with the abolition of slavery in the 1770s, I wouldn't bet on that. But do agree that working in the kitchen of the British would be better than working in the cotton fields of the Americans. :)

    But what if you were a free man in the Americas of 1776? Would you still wear red to keep from being a traitor to the crown?

    Again, that's a maybe. If I owned property in the colonies, maybe not.
    Lightfoot3

  • NotUrTypicalAmerican Jul 9, 10:22 a.m.

    People are so easily offended today, everyone is always mad about something... - girlwonders

    Ask yourself this, if tolerance should go both ways, as you say, then why should people tolerate his intolerance?

  • Lightfoot3 Jul 9, 10:16 a.m.

    "Maybe, because more than likely I would have been a free man in England." - NotUrTypicalAmerican


    Given England was just starting to toy with the abolition of slavery in the 1770s, I wouldn't bet on that. But do agree that working in the kitchen of the British would be better than working in the cotton fields of the Americans. :)


    But what if you were a free man in the Americas of 1776? Would you still wear red to keep from being a traitor to the crown?

  • girlwonders Jul 9, 9:44 a.m.

    The last thing I have to say on this issue is. "Tolerance should go both ways" You don't have to agree with Mr. Spell, you don't have to like what he has to say. People are so easily offended today, everyone is always mad about something...

  • NotUrTypicalAmerican Jul 9, 9:31 a.m.

    Let me guess. If you were here in 1776, you would have been wearing a red coat. - Lightfoot3

    Maybe, because more than likely I would have been a free man in England.

  • Lightfoot3 Jul 9, 9:22 a.m.

    "Of course that flag is racist. Not only is it racist, it's a traitor's banner, pride against fighting against the United States." - NotUrTypicalAmerican


    Let me guess. If you were here in 1776, you would have been wearing a red coat.

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