FBI Investigating Hate Letters Possibly Sent From Fayetteville
Posted January 6, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST
FAYETTEVILLE — The FBI is investigating several racist letters sent to historically black colleges in the southeast including North Carolina. Those letters were postmarked in Fayetteville and sent in December.
All the hate letters threaten the destruction of the black race. The letter was sent toN.C. Central Universityin Durham, as well asShaw UniversityandSt. Augustine's Collegein Raleigh.
It was also sent to six other predominantly black colleges - four in Alabama and two in Tennessee.
TheNAACPoffices in Fayetteville and Durham also received a hate letter with a Nazi symbol on it.
Dr. Graham Watt, President of St. Augustine's College, said he thought people would have made some progress since the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
"It's something we can't sweep under the carpet," Watt said. "It is real and we just have to work together, both black and white to get this problem resolved."
The city already has a national race relations scar.
In 1995, Fort Bragg soldiersJames BurmeisterandMalcolm Wrightkilled two people in Fayetteville because they were black.
Despite the past, Fayetteville NAACP leaders like Ron Shipman said the letter should not give the city a bad name.
"Fayetteville is no different than any other city in these United States, but basically it was just dropped in the Fayetteville post office," Shipman said. "Anyone that's a clear-thinking American will understand that this is not truly an act of Fayetteville necessarily."
Educators at the targeted schools say the hate letter can serve a useful purpose for students.
"This is a teachable moment," Watt said. "While we all strive for diversity, there for some people who oppose that. We just have to teach them they they just have to rise above this nonsense."
Fayetteville investigators are now working with the FBI to try and determine exactly who sent the letters.