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African-American Church Vandalized In Kent, Second Time This Year

Spelman AME Church

An African-American church in Kent has been vandalized for the second time within the last few months.

The Spelman AME Church was covered in hateful messages earlier this month, according to the Rev. David Dawson, including “satanic” and “graphic” images like swastikas and the number “666.” This follows an incident in August where the front door window was broken.

Dawson, the supplied pastor at the church, says he doesn’t know why this occurred but believes it was likely racially motivated. He said the vandalism has left the church feeling upset and confused

“This portion of hate has been thrown up on us for whatever reason,” Dawon says. “We are very angry but yet we are civil. And we will continue to do the right thing and continue to pray for those who did what they did to us.”

The Record-Courier reports that a Barbie doll head was tied to the church’s door handles, and vandals used crayon to write “Praise Wodan,” in apparent reference to Norse mythology, which has been recently appropriated by white supremacists.

Local faith organizations have reached out to support the Spelman Chapel, and Dawson says the police were called and are following up on the incident. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that 35 known hate groups are located in Ohio. According to the state Department of Public Safety, the rate of hate crimes in Ohio is twice the national average and rising.

Brooke is a senior journalism major and photojournalism minor. She has experience in photography, multimedia, print, radio and visual journalism. She has worked with Kent State student media including The Kent Stater and KentWired. She is a disc jockey and the former web director for Black Squirrel Radio. She is currently the general manager of Black Squirrel Radio.