Rick Tyler, a Tennessee congressional candidate, stirred outrage with his campaign billboard in Polk County that read: "Make America White Again."
Tyler's campaign website cited Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as the inspiration for the billboard, notes WTVC.
Tyler defended his billboard to the news station:
The sign was deliberately designed to be provocative and thought-provoking. The sign was quite well-designed, if I might say so myself. It featured the slogan, "Make America White Again" and it was intended to elicit the idea in people's minds, of course, of what would that mean? What would "Make America White Again" possibly mean? My quick response to that is that the "Leave It Beaver," "Ozzie and Harriet," "Mayberry" America that I grew up in was a better America.
And it was an America where there was far less violent crime, an America where you left your doors unlocked. You didn't have carjackings. You didn't have home invasions. You didn't have Muslim sleeper cells lurking possibly out there. And we, of course, by putting up the sign, myself and those who support me, our intention was simply to get people's minds moving in that direction. What would it be like to restore the demographic to America that was prevalent in the mid-1960s, let's say.
The Jackson Sun noted highlights of Tennessee's racist history (the "better America" days mentioned by Tyler): denial of voting rights for African Americans, segregation of public facilities, false arrests and convictions of black people, bombings, black people forced to live in a "tent city," and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis.
Amy Hines Woody, a local resident, posted a picture of Tyler's billboard on Facebook and wrote on June 21:
I am so enraged I can barely express myself without copious amounts of profanity. This disgusting bunch of bigotry was erected about 20 minutes from our house. The person listed, Mr. Rick Tyler, is a local business owner. He owns/runs the Whitewater Grill in Ocoee, TN. Please, if you are the decent and loving people I know you to be, boycott this business. We've already complained to the authorities (and so have MANY others). People of ALL colors have died in defense of our country and this reprehensible display is not MY America.
***UPDATE....THE SIGN IS OFFICIALLY DOWN!!! Never should have been there in the first place, but at least it's gone.
Woody's post has since been taken down.