By Greg Hince
June 11, 2012. Harmon’s Dixie Pride, a historic building located at 471 W. King St. in downtown Boone, was vandalized with spray paint in the early hours of Saturday morning in an attack owner Bradford Harmon felt was akin to a hate crime.
“Obama 2012” was tagged across the side of the building, but Harmon said he was was more disturbed by the graffiti across the right front window of the building, which contained obscene language visible from King St.
Harmon’s Dixie Pride, whose building once housed the second President of Appalachian State University, offers civil war clothing and supplies and historical photographs as well as guns and ammo. The store flies the Gadsden Flag and the Rebel Flag and is covered in Confederate signs and memorabilia.
Harmon said that he would go as far as to relating the incident to “The Night of Broken Glass” and other coordinated attacks by SA Stormtroopers in Nazi Germany.
“It’s not fair to tag a building and single anyone out, it’s the same kind of thing as the hate crimes in 1937 Germany in the Holocaust,” he said. “The police said they can’t charge anyone with a hate crime or a race crime, and I have no proof, but I have a good hunch who was involved and why they did it.”
Harmon, 50, said that around 1:35 a.m. a group of at least 4 “hula-hoop kids” were making noise and initially refused when he asked them to leave the property, where he also resides. He also said he heard a fight occurred outside Hot Diggity Dog, across the street, around 4 a.m. and one of the “hula-hoop kids” was arrested.
“Whoever it is, if you’re going to have a problem with someone, go straight to them, don’t attack their business or home because then I have to spend time and money and raise prices and everyone, including students, complains,” Harmon said.
Harmon’s Dixie Pride also offers parking spots for sale. The building has been in Harmon’s family since 1950 and is one of the oldest buildings around Appalachian’s campus.
“We found a flip switch downstairs dated Oct. 10, 1905,” he said. “Imagine all the history this building has seen, from wars, to the automobile and flight, the great depression and some many scientific advances, but also the whole history of Appalachian.”
Harmon said the aluminum siding vandalized was done by his grandfather in the 60’s and is irreplaceable. He is still attempting to remove the graffiti.
“I’m asking for people to be a man or woman and step forward if you know anything,” Harmon said. “It really comes down to destruction of property aimed at me.”
He believes the perpetrators should face stiff punishment which, in his opinon, should include expulsion from the university if they were students. He also thinks the spray painters have a lesson to learn and don’t deserve any leniency.
Along with attempting to relate the vandalism to some of history’s larger injustices, Harmon also said he views the incident as a metaphor for much of what he believes is wrong with the current thought process of young people and educators in the US.
“Some people running for the NC Senate want to drop History from the curriculum,” he said. “But I think that’s stupid, because we try to teach people history, and this is what happens, history repeats itself over and over and it ain’t right.”
For more information about Harmon’s Dixie Pride, visit harmonsdixiepride.com.