Visitors to the town are greeted by a totally not racist older billboard that drew controversy in October which reads “Anti-Racist is a Code Word for Anti-White” with the new, lower addition reading, “Beautiful Town, Beautiful People, No Wrong Exits, No Bad Neighborhoods.” The message is accompanied by a smiling white family and directs visitors to check out harrisonarkansas.info, which points out that the population is 97.60% white. The web site highlights some area residents, including Thom Robb, the local Ku Klux Klan director.
As with the first sign, the owner of the billboard company will not disclose who is responsible for the new addition, but the sign indicates that it was sponsored by “local business owners.”
The Harrison Community Task Force on Race Relations says it is unsure if the two signs are connected, but the message is similar. The task force feels that some are trying to portray Harrison as anti-diversity. “They’re trying to stake their claim and build a community for themselves that they feel like they carry some weight in, and I think the community has had enough of that and saying they don’t speak for them,” said Layne Ragsdale, a member of the task force.
A WHOIS search does not indicate the owner, but the web site lists a number of local realtors under the “Relocate” tab. Bob Dodson, who is listed on site site, told KY3 that “I don’t want to be associated with it.” Dodson wants people to know that the hateful message both billboards send is not a true reflection on the values of the town. “There are a few people who are trying to speak for the entire community and we have a loving community.”
AATTP has attempted to reach the owners of the site through the contact form, but there has yet been no response.
Watch a news report on the hate speech below: