Reported by April V. Taylor
The Journal Gazette has revealed that the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge in Fort Wayne, Indiana has been vandalized for the second time in just two weeks. The vandalism was discovered Sunday and appears to make remarks about black men and white women.
One of the markings began with the words, “White women do not need to mix…keep the white race pure.” One of the other markings apparently called for the deαth of interracial couples. The markings also included an appeal for people to remember Joseph Paul Franklin. Franklin is a white supremacist who was recently executed for killing more than 20 people in the late 1970s and appeared to target interracial couples. He tried to kill civil rights leader Vernon Jordan in 1980 in Fort Wayne, but Jordan survived.
The writing is reported to have appeared on two benches. Previous vandalism on the bridge included perpetrators painting a smiley face over a plaque that contained the image of Martin Luther King Jr. The most recent vandalism was done using a black marker.
Residents Charles and Nadine Lopez visited the bridge Monday morning to help remove the markings, but it had already been done. Nadine Lopez believes the vandalism was a hate crime. She also feels that installing cameras on the bridge may help deter any future acts of vandalism.
City spokesman Frank Suarez stated to the Journal Gazette that having someone deface something that is seen as an asset to the city is upsetting. He stated, “Fort Wayne residents embrace and take pride in our landmarks.” He also urged any residents who witnessed the vandalism being done to call police so that it could be investigated, repaired, and cleaned. The bridge was opened around two years ago and features a 50-foot arch as well as dozens of plaques that contain quotes from King.