Historic Atlanta Church Becomes Target of Senseless Racism

In the midst of a continued focus on racism in this country — especially in light of the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag and other symbols — the Atlanta church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as pastor has become the target of senseless racist attacks.

Last week, vandals placed Confederate flags in different areas around the church property.

Atlanta police said surveillance footage shows two men placing Confederate battle flags at two of Atlanta’s most notable landmarks early Thursday: Ebenezer Baptist Church and Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site.


Police later Thursday released several black and white videos from Ebenezer’s surveillance cameras showing images of two men walking and placing flags at various spots.

Around 6 a.m. Thursday, a maintenance man spotted the four flags and notified a federal park ranger who then called police. Local and federal investigators were dispatched to the Auburn Avenue sites, where the flags were removed and taken as evidence.

And yesterday, the church’s pastor Raphael Warnock and another staff member received racially charged emails at their church addresses.

The Atlanta Police Department said it is aware of a series of racially charged emails sent to Ebenezer Baptist Church in the wake of Confederate battle flags placed on the church’s grounds.

At least one email takes the church and its pastor, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, to task for focusing on the flag and not black crime.

A spokesman for the APD said detectives “are aware of the incident and are looking into it.”


Ebenezer office manager Marvel Leverett told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that she had deleted the racially charged emails she received but gave printed copies to authorities at the National Park Service, which oversees the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

She said Warnock had also received similar emails.

One of the emails forwarded to the AJC defended the Confederate flag and said the church should be more concerned about violence by blacks toward whites.

“The Confederate flag will rise again, and you can’t prevent it,” the email said.

Both local and federal officials are looking into the incidents.

Regardless of where anyone stands on the Confederate flag, it’s hard not to see how incidents like these don’t serve to advance anyone’s cause. These actions will only created more division and foster more hatred from both sides of the debate. Unfortunately, some people will never learn.