Work begins to turn South Carolina racist store into racial harmony site

State - Regional

FILE- In this, Jan. 13, 2020 file photo, Rev. David Kennedy stands outside the Echo Theater holding a photo of his great uncle’s lynching, in Laurens, S.C. Kennedy has fought for civil rights in South Carolina for decades. (AP Photo/Sarah Blake Morgan, File)

LAURENS. S.C. (AP) — Renovations are starting for an old theater in South Carolina that spent decades as a store that sold racist merchandise and a meeting spot for the Ku Klux Klan.

The Echo Project wants to rehabilitate the theater in Laurens and turn it into a community center and museum on racial reconciliation.

The Rev. David Kennedy owns the theater now. A former Klan member sold it to him for $1,000 after Kennedy helped him get food and a place to stay. But he let the Redneck Shop owner still lease his store.

Kennedy won a 15-year legal fight in 2012. The Echo Project has raised $300,000 for the work.

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