Above: Granvel Block recently began working again on construction of the new confederate memorial he is building in Orange, Texas where my wife grew up and where her extended family still lives. We have been actively protesting the monument since late last year.
Earlier this year, Tracie’s 97-year-old grandmother (“memaw”) received the below letter.
We believe it was sent to her by Granvel Block, the Sons of Confederate Veterans member behind the new confederate memorial in Orange, Texas where Tracie, her parents, and her grandparents grew up.
The memorial stands within view of motorists on westbound Interstate 10 (see this flyer circulated by Block). The property and memorial lie on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., a main thoroughfare and one the city’s main arteries.
Nearly half the residents of Orange are black.
The city, religious leaders, and business leaders have all asked Block to reconsider. The city has even offered to buy the property. Because the memorial stands on private property owned by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the city’s hands are tied (although it has taken significant steps in limiting the site’s visibility).
Tracie and I are among the organizers of the Repurpose protest movement: we are asking Block and the Sons to convert the site into a memorial that reflect community values. He refuses to engage in dialog.
He has threatened me with violence, telling me: “I’m a Texas boy and I’m going to kick your ass.”
He regularly uses the “n” word.
On Saturday, September 22 we will be leading our next protest of the site (click here for details).
On Saturday, September 15, I’ll be speaking at a town hall meeting organized by Orange councilwoman Annette Pernell (details forthcoming).
Thanks to Block’s efforts, the city’s reputation is being tarnished and its residents are being held hostage by someone whose values don’t align with an overwhelming majority of its citizens.
The content of the letter speaks for itself. The author clearly faces some mental health challenges. Many Orange residents say privately that they believe Block is the author. He has a history of being a malicious prankster, they say.
Click the image below for a PDF version.
Thank you for your support.