Archived Opinion

Marquees made me leave Maggie Valley

Marquees made me leave Maggie Valley

To the Editor:

I have never done this in my 59 years, but I can’t rest until I voice my displeasure and disappointment in what happened to me in Maggie Valley.

Father’s Day was coming and my 82-year-old dad had just one wish, and that was to get all his kids and grandkids together again and take a trip up to Maggie Valley. My father has been taking us there for years and the memories of my youth are filled with gunfights, Cherokees and mountains, courtesy of what I thought was a magical place.

Let me say also that me and my family are Black. Me and my wife drove to Maggie Valley to secure rooms for the weekend. We drove back to South Carolina that same day without a single room.

When I arrived in Maggie Valley, I felt I was back in the segregated South of my youth. Back the Blue signs and flags were on almost all the motel marquees, and I refuse to stay at a hotel where I’m not welcome. What disappointed me the most was that a national chain like Clarion was also participating in this act of racism. It was also on Clarion’s giant marquee. 

Back the Blue was created as a direct challenge to the Black Lives Matter movement, so yes, I get the message. The message is I’m not welcome at most of the hotels and restaurants in Maggie Valley and I’m not welcome at the Clarion Hotel.

Michael Qualls

Florence, S.C.

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67 comments

  • I’m here on a vacation that my parents planned for our family (I’m an adult now but we are spending Christmas here). I am appalled at the racism here. It’s truly disgusting and I’m having a terrible time because I am so uncomfortable in this town. I’m a 24 year old white woman and have never been the victim of racism, yet I am incredible uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how people of color feel when they enter this back water ass town.

    Stay far far away if you have any semblance of empathy and knowledge of right and wrong. They have confederate flags everywhere and are selling right wing propaganda at every souvenir shop I’ve passed by.

    I can’t wait to go home to Dallas ands THATS saying something.

    posted by Sunni Dupree

    Sunday, 12/19/2021

  • Nah, Maggie Valley is filled with hate. Most of these comments aren't even real. They sound either bot like, or just posted by the local rotten, entitled, small business owners. Most of the small businesses in Haywood county donate PACs to the GOP, and Madison Cawthorn, whom is an ACTUAL white supremacist. He's buddies with Marjorie Taylor Greene. Maggie is filled with Nazi bikers that have rallies every other weekend as well. How do I know this. I LIVE THERE!

    https://www.themountaineer.com/opinion/columns/haywood-reaction-to-protests-shows-there-is-racism-here/article_a1e3ee96-d204-11ea-869b-77a948a955d4.html

    posted by Nunya

    Friday, 09/03/2021

  • Nah, Maggie Valley is filled with hate. Most of these comments aren't even real. They sound either bot like, or just posted by the local rotten, entitled, small business owners. Most of the small businesses in Haywood county donate PACs to the GOP, and Madison Cawthorn, whom is an ACTUAL white supremacist. He's buddies with Marjorie Taylor Greene. Maggie is filled with Nazi bikers that have rallies every other weekend as well. How do I know this. I LIVE THERE!

    https://www.themountaineer.com/opinion/columns/haywood-reaction-to-protests-shows-there-is-racism-here/article_a1e3ee96-d204-11ea-869b-77a948a955d4.html

    posted by Nunya

    Friday, 09/03/2021

  • You are entitled to your opinion… but Back the Blue has nothing to do with race. Your feelings, although valid, can only be changed by your mindset. The police serves you too. When a police officer gets a cap for help, they don’t ask for the race of the person they are called to protect. Let’s not contribute more to this detrimental narrative that is being spoon fed to us. There are bad apples everywhere… in law enforcement, schools, communities. They do not represent us as a whole and we must do our part to eradicate those few individuals without punishing the whole. Stay in Maggie and experience it, the only way you will know if my changing your own mind. Besides, our country has come a long way since your father visited… if he did, then you certainly can to. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid!!!

    posted by Sandra

    Monday, 07/05/2021

  • like “AH”, i apologize for the many ignorant, uncaring remarks your opinion raised. i can only TRY to empathize what you and your family must deal with daily.

    and as for “Lou”, if he or she had truly read your opinion, he or she would possibly have realized the police report he or she was posting was for a person 24years younger than yourself.

    stay safe. i so pray for more understanding, caring and love on this independence day.

    posted by SLB

    Sunday, 07/04/2021

  • Please don’t come back to MV if you feel the need to label us as racist over simply saying we support our law enforcement. Last time I checked not a single MV cop has shot or killed a black man/woman. We do not support crooked cops but stand with our officers in MV and surrounding areas because they serve and protect our communities and keep us safe. And not only the residents of MV, tourist, and yes, even the black community. Seems like you didn’t really want to come here in the first place and found any and every excuse to get out of it. Labeling an entire town as racist for supporting the LEO’s that keep us safe, is absurd. You should be ashamed of yourself! And if you must know, those marquee signs are in response to a disgusting road sign posted by a business owner in the valley, it has nothing to do with BLM.

    posted by Mallory McClure

    Tuesday, 06/29/2021

  • Dear Sir,
    Very unfortunate that so many people like yourself are so self centered or close minded to think that backing the Blue is a stand against Black people.. its such a sad interpretation. It is supporting the people who serve and protect every race and color, everyday with their very life. The Blue are a group/family of hardworking innocent Americans who are being ignorantly mistreated by a group of people like yourself, because of one person's action. Your sad self inflicted perception is actually prejudice that seems to be held be supported by self centered thinking and unfortunate brainwashing from a group of irrational people. God Bless you and all those who think the same.

    posted by Noah Woodward

    Tuesday, 06/29/2021

  • If this is the same Michael Qualls that was arrested in Florence back in February, I can understand him not backing the blue.

    posted by Lou

    Tuesday, 06/29/2021

  • Last I checked, there are black police officers. Backing the blue is backing all our law enforcement, the good ones, that risk their lives every day. The personal offense taken seems more like a personal issue.

    posted by Lou

    Tuesday, 06/29/2021

  • Thank you for sharing your story

    posted by Emily

    Monday, 06/28/2021

  • You chose to believe that you were not welcome because of a difference of opinion. You caused your own problem.

    posted by Quartermaster

    Monday, 06/28/2021

  • Michael Qualls,
    How very narrow-minded and racist of you because our town supports our law enforcement. How can the support of the men and women who protect us be racist?
    If any group is racist, it is your beloved BLM. BLM has never done one positive thing for the black community. Well, other than making one of the co-founders a millionaire.
    What an unfortunate world you live in if Back the Blue translates to No Blacks Allowed.
    I pity you.

    posted by Steven Rich

    Monday, 06/28/2021

  • Fake story promoted by this rotten piece of trash excuse of a newspaper. Its all propaganda folks.

    posted by Horace Stoneman

    Monday, 06/28/2021

  • Liberals suck. And this rotten newspaper sucks.

    posted by George Cleve

    Monday, 06/28/2021

  • Fake story. Probably a white liberal from Trashville trying to stir the pot.

    posted by Debbie

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • Fake story. Probably a white liberal from Trashville trying to stir the pot.

    posted by Debbie

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • This is the most stupid thing i have read. SMN and the publisher shouldnt publish items like this

    posted by Chris

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • I apologize on behalf of the other ignorant commenters who lack empathy for black Americans. Thank you for sharing your story.

    posted by A H

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • WOW, back the blue is a movement to support the law and the enforcement of such. If you have issues with that then you are for criminals. Has nothing to do with color/race, if you think it does then you my friend are the problem.

    posted by JAMES D HERRING

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • WOW, back the blue is a movement to support the law and the enforcement of such. If you have issues with that then you are for criminals. Has nothing to do with color/race, if you think it does then you my friend are the problem.

    posted by JAMES D HERRING

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • Story does not make sense. Who drives 5 hours to secure hotel reservations? Almost everyone makes hotels reservations online. The few that don't use a telephone.

    In addition he mentions childhood memories of Cherokee. If you drove 6 hours and were not happy with Maggie Valley then why wouldn't he drive another 20 minutes and secure a reservation in Cherokee. After all Native American are the most neglected minority in the US.

    My guess is this is a fake story and never happened. Someone in Maggie Valley is trying to make a their point by lying. If it doesn't make sense it's probably not true.

    posted by James

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • So sorry you felt disrespected by businesses that support our local law enforcement.

    People who support our local law enforcement aren't saying people of color aren't welcome. I have lived in Haywood County and worked in Maggie Valley for decades. This is not a racist area.

    Your problem is a personal one, and you own it.

    posted by Paul Yeager

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • So, we know that we've lost the tourist dollars of at least one family....probably at least a few hundred dollars? Mr. Qualls has probably talked about the experience with some of his friends, right? Perhaps shared the link to this article on social media?

    How much money have we lost by this little marquee spat that is now on this comment section and probably on social media, too? This is ridiculous.....it's a serious subject, and for it to be bandied about with defensive comments on a public comment board and on marquees is childish. My business isn't tourism based, thankfully, so I won't take a financial hit from all this silliness.....but many of your friends, family, and neighbors will.

    How about thinking before you speak? How about making an effort to understand where the letter writer is coming from, if only because you want the money he and his family would spend?

    Grow up

    posted by Bill W.

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • That’s so much bullshit. Only in your racist mind is Backing the Blue in some way against Blacks. There are hundreds of thousands Black Officers across the country which are included in backing the blue. This as stupid as saying God Bless Dentists is a racist movement. It’s in support of the men and women, of all races, who go out every day to defend good folks against the bad. You are an idiot.

    posted by John walker

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • The Black Lives Matter march in Maggie showed the world just how "selective" their hospitality went. The most vile ugly retorts by beer bellied white trash that lined up to scream at them was disgusting. My thoughts of a nice little town where everybody was friendly just shattered that day. I was sick to my stomach. Still see ridiculous Trump flags on cars here and the ever present "But it's our heritage!!" Confederate flags flying on jacked up old pickups. And I'm white!!

    posted by Sally A Wright

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • I completely agree. I lived in Maggie Valley for 18 months before moving to Sylva, and I never go back. It has a real racist vibe, and those signs are enough to keep my business away.

    posted by Deni Gottlieb

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • Plenty of black folks live in around and stay in the valley. Always just takes one to get there feelings hurt. Best stay in Florence if your skins that tender;

    posted by Richard Mills

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • I am so sorry you felt this way. My parents live right outside of Maggie Valley & I am there often. I assure you that this was a direct result to show support to law enforcement when one business owner decided to post ACAB on its marquee. Back the Blue is not racist, as Blue Lives include all races & all genders. It’s sad times when everything has become divisive. Maybe we should stop & have a conversation instead of writing about it.

    posted by Kim Ladoczky

    Sunday, 06/27/2021

  • BTW….The Clarion is owned by a hardworking American who chose to affiliate with “The Clarion” brand. Maybe you can complain and they will yank his license to use “The Clarion” brand. It will save him close to $100k per year in licensing fees.

    posted by Chad Knight

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • BTW….The Clarion is owned by a hardwood f American who chose to affiliate with “The Clarion” brand. Maybe you can complain and they will yank his license to use “The Clarion” brand. It will dance him close to $100k per year in licensing fees.

    posted by Chad Knight

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

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