A Black-owned restaurant was vandalized with racial slurs and messages like “Get Out” and “You Not Welcome” spray-painted on the walls.
The incident took place at Vikki Layne’s Bar and Grill in downtown Hattiesburg, MS, the city where owner Vikki Layne Terrell was born and raised, the Clarion Ledger reports.
The vandals’ intended intimidation tactic backfired and instead inspired Layne to move forward stronger.
“You just gave me my second wind,” she told Clarion Ledger.
Terrell moved her popular eatery downtown less than a year ago.
The incident took place on Sunday (September 29) around 6:30 p.m. Layne took photos of the damage that included overturned tables in the dining room, damaged kitchen equipment, and spray-painted messages and racial slurs on the mirror and walls in the bathroom.
“I don’t know why anyone would do this,” she told the Clarion Ledger. “I should not walk into the women’s room and see racial slurs on the walls.”
Police reviewed surveillance camera footage on Monday (September 30) but have yet to identify a suspect.
Terrell opened her restaurant four years ago but didn’t encounter any racially motivated problems until she moved downtown.
Terrell reported several people have made racist comments in her restaurant since moving downtown.
One white customer requested to be seated away from children and Black customers. Another white customer asked to be served by a white waitress, the Clarion Ledger reports.
“I never thought something like this would happen to me,” Terrell told the Clarion Ledger. “This is 2019. This is Hattiesburg.”
Still, Terrell is not letting the incident deter her from serving the community she’s called home her entire life.
“Where else am I supposed to go?” she said. “I was born and raised here. My parents were born and raised here.”
In fact, her father is the late Clemon Terrell, who was a longtime parks and recreation direction of the city of Hattiesburg, reports the Clarion Ledger.
“I’ll be in this building for years to come,” she said. “They should have at least waited until I was tired. You just gave me my second wind. Now I can’t dare let you make me move. I can’t dare let you make me get out.”
(Photo: Richard Ernest Yap)