Neighbors say Mat-Su man's Black History Month display is offensive, racist
A display along Knik-Goose Bay Road is drawing second looks from neighbors.
One sign displayed below a Confederate flag describes February, widely celebrated as Black History Month, as "Black Face-It Month." Another labels a stuffed monkey in a chair as former president Barack Obama, misspelling his first name.
Lloyd Nieman, who put up the signs at the start of Black History Month, didn't want to discuss them on camera. He says the messages aren't racially motivated, but are a counterprotest to National Football League players like Colin Kaepernick who've taken a knee during performances of the national anthem.
"I'm shaking right now," said 18-year-old Ashlynn Platt, who lives with her family in the area. "That's just makes me really sad."
"We literally had to turn around because we were like, 'Oh my gosh, what did that say?'" Platt added. "We were like, 'Holy cow! That's just wrong! That's really just wrong.'"
Nieman says he has a right to share his thoughts under the First Amendment, although his neighbors still think the display goes too far.
"I get freedom of speech, but this is too much. This is hurting other people," Platt said. "That's just not OK."
African-American leaders including Chuck Bremer, who has worked with the A. Philip Randolph Institute to advance civil rights, have advice for Platt and others.
"I wouldn't waste my time with anybody like that, it wouldn't bother me. It's a fool," said Bremer, who is in Anchorage this weekend for the inaugural Bettye Davis African-American Summit, in memory of the first black woman elected to the Alaska Senate. "I don't have time for foolish things at my age."
Wade Henderson, the former director of the Washington, D.C. branch of the NAACP, agreed with Bremer.
"As long as it stops with an expression of political opinion, I'm OK with that," Henderson said. "When it crosses over into action, harmful actions against individuals, obviously I would oppose it. In this instance, I think it's just best to ignore him."
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: