Sign honoring the Sandidges’ role in black history was removed

To the Editor:

I read Melissa Hale-Spencer’s editorial about the disappearing and probable stealing of Betty Head’s lawn signs for Hillary Clinton [“To stand as one, we must show respect to all, Aug. 11, 2016].  Ms. Head’s use of lawn signs is part of her freedom of speech.  I admire her courage for intending to make a citizen’s arrest if she observes this happening again. However, I hope she considers the possible risk to her personal safety by doing this and will instead photograph the thief and call the police.

One of my lawn signs was also removed.  It was on the corner of Fuller Road and Sandidge Way (formerly Loughlin Street) and it read "Save Sandidge Way: Black History Matters."  The sign had been up for some time and had been observed there on the early evening on July 29.  On the afternoon of July 30 it wasn’t there.

Because the sign is shiny, I noticed it under some low-hanging pine branches where it had been placed.  On the morning of July 30, there was an event attended by several public officials for the unveiling of the new Sandidge Way street sign.  The purpose of this was to honor Teresa and Jesse Sandidge for their pioneering role in establishing an integrated community on that street.  It is ironic that a lawn sign honoring the Sandidges’ role in black history was removed just prior to the event.  

I had reason to believe that my posting the sign where I did was legal because a different sign had been at that same location for several months.  Also, I have since put the sign back up there where it has remained.  I do not appreciate the interference with my freedom of expression.  I am similarly appalled by the environmental unconsciousness of disposing of a sign by tossing it under branches.

I’m glad that Ms. Hale-Spencer began her article with the text of the First Amendment because many people need to familiarize themselves with it.  A recent study showed that 39 percent of Americans were unable to name a single right guaranteed by the First Amendment and 46 percent did not know that freedom of speech is included in the First Amendment.  I have often wondered how many Americans born in this country could pass the citizenship test that immigrants seeking citizenship are required to pass.

Carol Waterman


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