Wakulla County residents host MLK Day celebration following racist incident

Despite three churches in Wakulla County finding "KKK" spray-painted on the side of their church weeks ago, county residents came together Monday to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day for a 10th annual breakfast event.

Vice Commissioner chairman, Randy Merritt, said said he does not think these are the actions of an organized group.

“Seems to be a really dumb kid or a couple dumb kids,” Merritt said. “But they’re not organized. We must acknowledge them at least or they might think its ok or cool. And its not.”

All three of the churches that were vandalized in the area are predominantly black. Mount Olive is located on Old Shell Point Road. It’s only minutes away from several street signs that also had "KKK" painted on them.

A truck at Wildwood Golf Course and a public bathroom were also spray-painted.

The community has held prayer vigils and continued to face this issue that has sparked an FBI investigation into the hate crimes.

Samuel Hayes, the pastor for Mount Olive church, saw the incidents as a chance for the community to come together and unite against something regardless of race.

"This is only going to bring us together,” Hayes said. “Make our faith stronger.”   

Ralph Thomas, a Wakulla County commissioner, was shocked, saying he had never seen anything like this incident, as a Wakulla native.

“This is a very isolated incident and not a good representation of Wakulla” Thomas said. “I hope people realize it’s terrible and not what Wakulla is.”